By Father John Rayls
I enjoy Scotch…I don’t love Scotch. I’ve actually believed this and repeated it for many years. However, I may have met my match in Tamdhu Batch Strength Scotch Whisky. I’m not sure it was love, but it was awfully close. If it wasn’t true love, it should have been. (I think there’s a hit song in there somewhere!). To be honest, I had never heard of Tamdhu Scotch Whisky before it showed up on my doorstep as a free sample for review. I found the Tamdhu 10 Year Old lots of fun and it was interesting. The Tamdhu Batch Strength takes it to a whole new level. It was first introduced in 2015 continuing the Tamdhu tradition of sherry cask aging. They even use mostly first fill casks. However, the batch strength was bottled at 117.6 proof. There’s just something really special about Scotch influenced by sherry casks, particularly, when it’s packing a punch. It’s non-chill filtered and presented for market as an NAS (No Age Statement) whisky. I certainly like aged whisky of all types, but sometimes an NAS whisky just does it right.
It is 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 bottle is beautiful and even the bottle container has a striking appearance reflecting the long history of this Speyside distillery. The nose is of medium strength, but is more noticeable than on the 10 Year Old. It has very inviting (enticing?) aromas of Sherry, oak, dried fruit, malt and some light vanilla with warm bread. It doesn’t nose hot. Surprisingly, there is no alcohol burn.
However, it’s the flavor that knocks the ball out of the park. There is a soft creamy mouth-feel as the flavors begin to take shape mid-mouth. A slightly sweet honey, malt, vanilla, fruit and red wine presence welcomes you to Tamdhu Batch Strength Scotch Whisky. It is complex and immensely enjoyable, but this 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.
As you can tell, I was very pleasantly surprised by Tamdhu Batch Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky. It’s definitely one that I want sitting on my shelf. 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!