Tamdhu 20 1996 Old Particular Douglas Laing

Thanks to /u/ScotchGuyTO for this dram.

In my accidental series, I’m calling “TOModera finally reviews a bunch of things totally out of his wheelhouse”, we fall upon Tamdhu.

Storytime! A few years back an IB of Tamdhu showed up on the market that was stellar. Inexpensive rocket fuel from a sherry cask that was touched by the divine. Whisky nerds tore themselves up deciding if they should post about this rarity or if they should buy a case and hide it.

Since then I’ve not had many other Tamdhus. Perhaps I’m worried they won’t be as good as the last time. However I keep trying new recipes at home and taste them, so I shouldn’t be worried to try new things. Otherwise, I’d just eat lasagna all the time. And I’m not half evil enough to pull that off.

So during a tasting Tamdhu 20 1996 Old Particular Douglas Laing popped up. Did I shy away, run far? No, because I’m not a socially insane person. Sure, I’ve been harsh on the elderly weirdo line before, but this was poured by someone who has decent tastes, so I’ll give it a try.

Perhaps it’ll be as good as the previous one. Perhaps not. Let’s see, shall we?

Price: $80 USD

Region: Speyside

Vintage: 12.1996

Bottled: 04.2017

Cask type: Refill Hogshead

Cask Number: DL 11666

Number of bottles 186

Bottled for K&L Wines Merchants Exclusive

Abv: 54.1%

Colour: 7.5Y 9/6

Nose: Grass, peach, lime, soil

Light nose, even given the abv. Gives a garden/floral/soil aspect to it. Not off-putting may be a bit simple for most, but easily approachable.

Does not nose like a 20-year-old whisky at all. Lacks the complexity here.

Taste: Papaya, caramel, Nerds, cardamon

Tropical, sweeter, and some acidity/spice. Again, it’s very shy, very sweet, and very acidic. Really pushed me to find more and came up wanting.

However… And hold on for a second, because the price isn’t factored into these reviews, perhaps treating this like a 20-year whisky isn’t the idea. From a “fine to sip on” point of view, it’s fruity and spicy. Easy to drink.

Finish: Grass, lime, burnt orange, cloves

The finish is similar: Spice/some burnt notes, orange is there, and grass. Nothing more, nothing less.

Conclusion: Orange, fruity, cereal-heavy dram. It’s consistent the whole way through, and really wasn’t turning me off the flavour. There’s a reason it’s an inexpensive 20-year-old whisky because it drinks like something that’s roughly 10-years-old.

That said, it’s easy drinking, not really bad, and fits into a floral/acidic wheelhouse easily. If they were asking much, much more for it I’d be annoyed. However, the quality (which is independent of the price) is well suited.

Does it meet the expectations of the “legendary” Tamdhu I had? Not at all. That was a flash in the pan if anything. But it does make me want to explore all the options in between.


Scotch review #1327, Speyside review #362, Whisky Network review #1987

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