Tamdhu 15 year old

April 15, 2024

In this review, my ongoing whisky journey takes me to the River Spey where I’m pouring the Tamdhu 15 year old, distilled at the Tamdhu Distillery, located in the village of Knockando, in the Council of Moray, in the Speyside region of Scotland.

Like many long-standing Scottish whisky distilleries, Tamdhu has seen its share of openings and closings since it was founded over 125 years ago in 1897. For most of its existence it was not a widely know brand, as it provided the majority of its outturn to big blended whiskies, like The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, J&B, and Dunhill’s. That changed, however, when the independent bottler Ian Macleod Distillers revived the distillery in 2011, and decided to get rid of the blends and turn Tamdhu into a premium single malt whisky brand.

They produce three age statement releases in their core range, a 12 year old, this 15, and an 18 year old. And the 15 has been on the market since 2019.

This whisky has been matured in 100% Oloroso sherry oak casks and has been bottled at 46 percent ABV. Tamdhu must be very proud of the fact that their whiskies are non chill filtered and are all natural color because it’s highlighted all over the packaging. That’s a good business model they’ve got going there. But I did notice it’s not printed on the bottle label. Probably just an oversight.

It’s got a tawny, light mahogany appearance in the glass and there’s evidence of some nice viscosity with medium slow legs taking their time back down to the dram pool.

I do want to comment on the Tamdhu bottle. In my opinion, it might just be the coolest bottle out there. When you look at it, you can’t help but notice its height, and elegance, and heft. And when you pick it up, those features make you feel like you’re going into whisky battle!


I get an initial hit of vibrant fruit, maybe like a fruitcake. This is followed by the scent of figs. The sweet hit I get next reminds me of honey. And, strangely, nail polish remover. And, finally, coffee.


As I tend to suggest, if this happens to be the first alcohol you’ve ingested today, don’t make your evaluation until you’ve ingested a little more. The taste buds need a moment to join the party.

First up is the very pleasant taste of raisins. This gets pushed aside by a noticeable vanilla hit. A quick kick from the taste of burnt toffee pushes back briefly from the sweetness. And the more I sip, the more I’m picking up the spice. There’s some orange zest. And what I would describe as raspberry chocolate truffles. A boisterous wet leather taste screams out that there’s some earthy base there. And then cherry cola.

Even though it’s at 46 percent, this one feels like it could use a bit of a chemical reaction so I decided to play mad scientist and add a few drops of water.

Nose + Water:

With the added water I smell prune juice. And cloves. And a tiny bit more vanilla.

Palate + Water:

I get tea, two sugars. And singed butterscotch.


It’s a medium length finish. There’s a sweet residue on the lips, like cherry chapstick. And the tongue is left with some spice, an overcooked cinnamon danish, and flat ginger ale.


This is a good, sherried whisky. The flavors bounce easily between fruit and spice. I thoroughly enjoyed sipping it. For me, though, there wasn’t that THING that made it stand out from other typical Speyside whiskies. And it IS on the higher end of the price scale for a 15 year old whisky. Maybe those hefty, elegant bottles cost more. Now, I know there are people who will love this whisky. I liked it. I’m giving the Tamdhu 15 year old an 8 finger pour.

Age Statement: 15 years

ABV: 46%

Chill Filtered: no

E150a caramel coloring added: no

Average Price (750ml): $140 (US)