Season’s greetings Whisky fans!
I’ve been lucky enough to spend a week every year for the last five years visiting various distilleries around Scotland tasting some very good whisky.
It’s always a risk visiting Scotland even in high summer as the weather can be changeable, and what started with “it’s raining today, let’s go visit a distillery” has become very much a planned visit regardless of the weather.
This year I fulfilled an ambition by visiting Clynelish where I was treated to a very personal tour as no one else had bothered to drive roughly an hour north of Inverness to Brora in Sutherland to visit that particular day so I had the distillery to myself. Not only was the tasting everything I hoped it would be, the visit to the old Brora site next door was an unexpected bonus. (Unfortunately these rare Malts are fetching extraordinarily high prices).
I look forward to 2019 when hopefully I can get my grubby mitts on a bottle of a ltd 200yr old anniversary edition, as I noticed a couple of slumbering casks earmarked for such a bottling. Note to self!
Watch this space as next year I am spending a week tasting my way round the distilleries of Islay. The home of peated malt. Marmite to some people, you either love ’em or you don’t. I’ll let you know how I get on.
Now onto December’s Malt of the month, Tamdhu 10 Year Old
Just south west of Aberlour in the heart of Speyside lies the Tamdhu distillery. In 2012 the distillery was purchased by Ian Macleod distillers who have set about returning this once gem of a distillery back to former glories.
The reason for Tamdhu 10 Year Old being my Malt of the month for the festive season is simple. The whisky is exclusively matured in more expensive sherry casks some first fill. This imparts rich fruit cake like flavours and when I drink this malt I am transported to a large armchair in front of a roaring fire on a cold night, kick off the slippers, with Christmas carols playing in the background. Sheer bliss.
Tamdhu 10 Year Old is the signature malt of the range and I can tell you that this a Christmas cracker of a malt! Totally natural colour from the sherry casks. A hint of peat is used in the malted barley and pure water is sourced from the Tamhdu spring.
On the nose subtle it is not, Demerara sugar, Dundee cake, sweet spice, vanilla and forest floor. Blimey every time I nose something else enters the mix.
Initially the palate is candied orange and sweet spices, then chocolate, honeycomb, caramel, toffee fudge. Oh what a cacophony of flavours all crying out for attention.
The finish is polished, smooth, round and warming and only then do you finally get the faintest whiff of smoke from the peat. The perfect partner on a cold December evening. All this for £37.99!