It was in 1863 that the Strathspey railway first graced Speysideâ€™s locality. A dependable means of travel was, at last, brought to the area and several distilleries were built as a result. Tamdhu was one of them; founded in 1896 by a group of whisky blenders, including William Grant and Sons among others, and designed by the famed, prolific Speyside distillery architect, Charles Doig of Elgin.
The distillery is of good size; her six stills have a total capacity of four million litres annually, though at present Tamdhu runs at three quarters of this. Tamdhu installed a substantial Saladin box malting system in 1950. One of but a handful of distilleries with onsite maltings and the only one still using a Saladin box, Tamdhu produces all of its own malt as well as enough to supply other distilleries in the Edrington group, notably the Glenrothes distillery. Tamdhu lies on the banks of the mighty River Spey, not far from Knockando. The Knockando distillery's ancient railway station has since been converted into the Tamdhu visitor centre.
This is the fifth release in the sherried series from the Speyside distillery, having spent its maturation exclusively in Oloroso casks. At 59.8% ABV, those hallmark notes of sherried spices, berries and toasted nuts are just leaping from the glass.
Nose: Sultanas, dates and blackberry compote provide a rich, thick opening with dark chocolate and Brazil nuts in support. Huckleberry honey and vanilla tablet bring American oak sweetness alongside notes of bread and butter pudding, fresh apricot jam and caramelised ginger. Thereâ€™s leather-bound books, some sherried funk and spice from clove and cinnamon throughout along with a sprig of mint.
Palate: More winter spice initially, which bramble fruit, thick treacle and dense fruitcake emerge through. Seville marmalade, occasional pangs of liquorice and chewy, tannic oak add depth among touches of walnut skin bitterness, earthy vanilla and barley sugar. With time comes cedar, cracked black pepper, leather and chocolate ice cream.
Finish: Graciously long and slightly dry, with apple skins, lime, chocolate fudge and fizzy cola bottles.