Today, I continue my introduction of the exclusive bottlings currently available at DeinWhisky.de. Whereas part one included three expressions from independent companies, part two features three distillery bottlings. They all share a similar age (12 to 13 years) and origin (Speyside). Yet, in regard to their character they are profoundly different. The Tamdhu 13yo Oloroso is full-bodied, sweet and sticky. The Glendronach 12yo Oloroso is woody, spicy and austere. And the Benromach 12yo for the German Facebook group “Hocksheads” is complex, intense and smoky. So much for a first orientation. To dive deeper into the topic, be my guest and read on!
Tamdhu 13yo Oloroso
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • 1st-fill Oloroso sherry hogshead • 58.9% • 341 bottles)
Like all heavily sherried single casks bottlings from Tamdhu Distillery, this one requires you to dig a little deeper into your wallet. If you are willing to do so, however, you will be rewarded with a beautifully matured Scotch whisky drawn from a 1st-fill Oloroso hogshead. In the glass, the spirit shimmers dark brown. Its scent is very sweet and alluring with lots of cocktail cherries, vanilla pudding, powdered sugar and soft raisins. It also has a mild spiciness and a certain freshness that reminds me of Swiss cough drops. The viscosity is high and the liquid feels almost sticky on the tongue. With an ABV of nearly 60 per cent, it has a good, noticeable strength. When it hits the taste buds, this delicious Tamdhu kicks off a colorful interplay of sweet funfair notes: candied apples, burnt almonds, gooey caramel, black licorice wheels and sugar canes. Also some honey cake that stayed in the oven a bit too long. And a few piercing red fruits. The syrupy aftertaste has a fresh quality at first; like those cherry-flavored bonbons you get at the apothecary. Later, the fading spirit also leaves us with lasting notes of cookie dough, plum jelly and nut splinters. A first-class sensory experience through and through!
Glendronach 12yo Oloroso
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Oloroso sherry puncheon • 58% • 640 bottles)
This 12-year-old Glendronach ripened in a single Oloroso sherry puncheon (which is a cask type bigger than a hogshead and smaller than a butt). It opens with a condensed nose that has garden fruits, spices, malt and cotton candy. Some lighter fruits like green apples peek-a-boo from underneath. Furthermore, I smell cookie crumbles, raspberry sauce and citrus zest. The first sip is a little sourish, offering unripe peaches and firm-to-bite gooseberries. Then malty and chocolatey notes appear, followed by unsugared blueberries and worn leather. The finish is surprisingly smooth for such a rough-around-the-edges pour. It provides more blueberries as well as strawberries drenched in dark chocolate sauce. Plus dry spices and wood shavings. Due to its pronounced acerbity, I would not call this Glendronach the blueprint of a classic, sherry-influenced Speysider. If you are looking for such a dram, DeinWhisky’s exclusive Tamdhu 13 Years Old might be more up your alley. If you are curious to try something different, however, you might want to give this headstrong, edgy bottling a try.
Benromach 12yo “Bottled for Hocksheads”
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • 1st-fill bourbon cask • 57.9% • 206 bottles)
Benromach is one of my most beloved distilleries in Scotland. Unfortunately, they do not sell any of their whisky to indie bottlers. But sometimes they grant their importers or retailers the chance to release an exclusive single cask bottling under the Benromach brand. This 12-year-old expression falls into that category. It came to be as a collaboration between DeinWhisky.de and the “Hocksheads” group on Facebook. When you pour yourself a dram, do not let the palid color mislead you. The aromas and flavors in this whisky are huge! The nose is very refined and complex. Here, white peaches and starchy apples provide a reduced fruitiness, while greasy bacon and sizzling twigs add a mouthwatering BBQ smokiness. Dried herbs, marzipan cake and honey icing add further depth and variety. On the tongue, the fruits step forth. They literally clash with the smoke: Green apples meet gleaming coals. Ripened pears meet burning leaves. Juicy peaches meet roasted pork. Fresh melons meet grilled chestnuts. And around all, there is a thick honey crackling! Oh, this is finger-licking good! The finish is long and sweet. It seems as if the fruits and the smoke wore themselves out in their struggle before. While they lick their wounds in background, the sweetness does now claim the spot in the limelight. It takes the form of canned pineapples, banana chips, breakfast cereals, chocolate nibs and sweet barley. Honor where honor is due: This dram embodies all the things that make Benromach Distillery one of my absolute faves!
Tamdhu 2006 Oloroso (Single Malt / Spey. / 13yo / 1st fill sherry hogsh. / 58.9% / ~180 Euro)
Glendronach 2007 Oloroso (Single Malt / Speyside/ 12yo / Sherry puncheon/ 58% / ~90 Euro)
Benromach 2007 “Hocksheads” (Single Malt / Spey. / 12yo / 1st fill bourbon / 57.9% / ~95 Euro)
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*** Whisky samples kindly provided by DeinWhisky.de ***