By Father John Rayls
When it comes to the wider world of whiskeys, I enjoy, but don’t love Scotch. It’s a statement I have repeated to myself for many years. However, I may have met the single malt that brought me over in Tamdhu Batch Strength. I’m not sure it is love, but it’s infatuation at the very least.
I had never heard of Tamdhu before I found the Tamdhu 10 Year Old, and it was lots of fun and an interesting pour. The Tamdhu Batch Strength takes the distillery’s profile to a whole new level. The expression was first introduced in 2015, continuing the Tamdhu tradition of Sherry cask aging, using mostly first fill casks. This cask strength, non-chill filtered, NAS version was bottled at 117.6 proof (58.8% ABV), high even for a cask strength Scotch. There’s just something really special about Scotch influenced by sherry casks, particularly at high strength.
The whisky amber in color, demonstrating the Sherry cask influence. There are golden highlights mixed with light brown colors. You can’t help but notice the long thick legs covering the sides of the glass.
The nose is of medium strength, more noticeable than on the 10 Year Old. It has very inviting aromas of Sherry, oak, dried fruit, malt and some light vanilla with warm bread. It should be a stronger nose at higher proof, but it doesn’t nose hot: there is no alcohol burn.
That is a good start, but it’s the flavor that knocks the ball out of the park. There is a soft creamy mouthfeel as the flavors begin to take shape mid-mouth. A slightly sweet honey, malt, vanilla, fruit and red wine presence welcomes you in. It is complex and immensely enjoyable tasting, but that is only the beginning.
The finish is a little hot and peppery and even a little hot down the throat. There is a slight delay before the finish kicks in, but it does eventually assert itself. It’s long and satisfying as the flavors gradually fade and the pepper steadily makes its presence known. It’s a big finish and some small amount of water would open up the flavors a bit, but I love the strong and assertive finish.
The Tamdhu Batch Strength is definitely one that I want sitting on my shelf. Given how much I like it and what it costs (see below), I’m just not sure I can keep it there.
You can get it for under $100 and I even found some under $90. It’s pleasant, interesting, complex and dares you to drink it slowly. If this is a little over your budget, I would encourage you to strongly consider putting this on your “splurge” list. You won’t regret it!