Friday, December 18, 2009

Tamdhu 10 Year Speyside is a Delicious and Affordable Single Malt Scotch

The weather outside has indeed been frightful. Icy cold temperatures and chilly gusts of wind have been making it tough to warm up over these past few days. When I got home after work last night, I felt chilled to the bone despite the four layers of clothing I was wearing. I first made a pot of rice and heated up some gumbo that I had made earlier in the week. Then I cracked open a new bottle of Scotch to chase away the chill. It was a good decision!

I've had Tamdhu 10 Year before. I sort of go in phases with spirits, and lately I've been favoring Bourbon, so it was nice to revisit something a little different. I was treated to aromas of baked apple, malt, honey, and wildflowers in my glass and a fairly smooth and even palate with just a little heat on the finish. I was delighted that it didn't present me with overwhelming smells of iodine or peat since some Scotches laden with these aromas are a bit too serious to enjoy in the company of others. I learned from online research that it is aged in used Bourbon casks for five years before being transferred to sherry casks for another five. No wonder I enjoyed it so much - Bourbon and Sherry are two of my other favorite drinks.

Speyside Scotches are always a pretty good bet for those who prefer a lighter, fruitier style of Scotch like myself. Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and Macallan are a few famous names. Balvenie, however, has always been my favorite Speyside since I was first introduced to it about 10 years ago. Their 21 Year "Port Wood" is unbelievable. It is delicate and complex with a long finish that reminds me of some very fine Burgundies that I have been fortunate enough to taste. Drinking really fine Scotch is not a luxury that I can afford with any great frequency. Most entry level Scotch retails for $35 to $40 and the Balvenie 21 can cost $100+ for a single bottle! It's ironic that a country whose people are often stereotyped as being penny-pinchers could produce a spirit that fetches such large sums of money.

Happily, Tamdhu, apart from being an easy-drinking and extremely satisfying Scotch is also relatively affordable. I picked up the bottle for $25 a while back. The relatively inexpensive price may be due to the fact that Tamdhu was never intended to be bottled on its own. Traditionally, it was made for the purpose of selling to larger distilleries to blend in with their own Scotch. Famous Grouse still uses Tamdhu in their blend. Because of the renewed interest and appreciation for single malts, they have begun to bottle their whisky on its own.

Hopefully, this bottle will last me a while. Of course, now that I am reminded of how delicious it is, it may not. With the warm glow that I get from drinking it, I'll try to remain optimistic. Try a nip on a night when you need a winter-warmer - add a dash of water or drink undiluted. If you're not a Scotch drinker, but are curious to try one, this makes for an excellent, inexpensive, and approachable starter.

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