Friday, August 31, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

You may recall that The Rich Spicy One is 50% Tamdhu aged in ex-Sherry butts and 10% Tamdhu aged in ex-Bourbon barrels. If I hadn't enjoyed The Rich Spicy One and if I didn't know what went into its blend, chances are that I would never have bought the single malt bottling of Tamdhu. It hasn't gotten very good reviews, and as much as I like to disparage the usefulness of reviews and ratings, I do read them and I am influenced by them. And then there's the matter of the price. It's less than $20 for a fifth, and that's out of line for a decent Scotch malt that's 10 years old. If something is too cheap, I tend to think that there's a reason for it. But I did enjoy The Rich Spicy One, and I knew that Tamdhu is owned by the Edrington Group, which doesn't have any stinkers in its portfolio, so I decided to give it a try.

Tamdhu is a rarity among Scotch distilleries in that all of the malt that they use is produced on-site. The production of the Saladin maltings attached to Tamdhu is so large, as a matter of fact, that it provides malt for a number of other distilleries (including Highland Park, another Edrington property) as well. The distillery's production is almost entirely used as a constituent of blends, primarily Edrington's Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse. The bad ratings notwithstanding, I like the Tamdhu single malt. It has a nice dollop of sherry over top of a malty, grainy core. There is no peat here, just fresh, clean malt. Refreshing and very tasty. Sometimes a bargain really is a bargain.

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