For some reason a lot of first-fill sherry casks from Tamdhu were sold to independent bottlers around the mid-2000s and are now coming to market as the fad for intensely sherried young malts has grown. Many of them have been bottled by van Wees for their Ultimate series at cask strength. While quite a number of them have been well-received, they're not universally loved.
This whisky was distilled on February 16th 2006, filled into a sherry butt, then bottled on March 20th 2015 at 64.5% without coloring or chill filtration.
van Wees The Ultimate Tamdhu 9 Year 2006/2015 Cask #914
Nose: big new make notes (which largely fade after the first sip), sweet raisins, massive sherry, gently floral, green malt, a little rubbery. After adding water it becomes much softer and the raisin notes become kind of dank, touches of salinity, vanilla, banana, and yogurt pop out, and it becomes somewhat savory with a bit of cold smoke.
Taste: extremely hot throughout, big new make notes wrapped around a bright sherry core, bittersweet all the way through, more raisin notes and some oak tannins at the back. After dilution the alcohol heat largely disappears, revealing soft sherry, liquid raisins, and very little new make, with a berry/wine sour edge, and something vegetal near the back.
Finish: big alcohol heat, fudgy raisins, sour malt
In all honesty, I don't think this should have been bottled at full strength. While there's a fetish within the whisky community for higher and higher proof whiskies (see: George T. Stagg), in this case it's really just too much. Contrary to my usual practice with samples, I added a fairly healthy slug of water when diluting this whisky because it felt like a few drops just weren't going to do the trick. That much dilution was necessary to put the new make notes into balance and transform it into a competent malt, rather than a underdone mess.
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