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Tamdhu (pronounced: tam-DOO), like many of the 'T' distilleries is a blending machine through and through. However, also like most of the obscure 'T' distilleries, there are a fair few fine drams of it out there that have slipped through the malt net over the years. It...
Tamdhu (pronounced: tam-DOO), like many of the 'T' distilleries is a blending machine through and through. However, also like most of the obscure 'T' distilleries, there are a fair few fine drams of it out there that have slipped through the malt net over the years. It is one of those distilleries, very like its alliterative chum Tomatin, that seems to manage to produce fine distillate despite a mass production setup.
Founded: 1896 Mothballed: 2010 Stills: 3 Wash 3 Spirit Water Source: Local Sources Capacity: 4.5 Million Litres Owners: 1887 Company (Highland Distillers)
1950s-1972: An Old Style Distillery
Tamdhu was a typical small scale, two still distilleries for the majority of its life up until expansion beckoned in the early seventies. Thankfully there are bottlings of Tamdhu from before this modern era that offer us a glimpse into its past. There are excellent aged Tamdhus from Duncan Taylor and Hart Brothers who bottled a series of exemplary late sixties casks.
Jack Wiebers also bottled a wonderful 1958 42yo that was full of crystallized fruits, coal, wax, honey and resinous, old-style aged characteristics. The best was a 1963 30yo by Cadenhead's that seemed to embody the best of these aged Tamdhu qualities with extra concentration and intensity of flavour.
These old 1960s Tamdhus all seem to display the same nervous fruitiness, aromatic notes of wood, herbs, delicate smoke and tea. Similarly a good example of the same make at a younger age is the very good official 8yo bottled around the late 70s and early 80s.
1972-Present: Expansion And More Expansion
Tamdhu's modernisation program began in 1972 with the addition of a new pair of stills, another pair was added in 1975 bringing the number up to six. This transformed Tamdhu from a smaller, old-style distillery to a big, modern, blending orientated plant with modern equipment and intentions. The result on the spirit was that the distinctive waxy fruit elements of the 1960s make disappeared and in its place was a much sweeter, cereal driven and delicately fruity spirit.
Good modern examples of Tamdhu come from Adelphi, Douglas Laing, Signatory, Cadenhead's and some fine official bottlings.