Review #22: Tamdhu 1980

Being regulars at the Whisky Shop in San Francisco, we are lucky enough to have regular tastings of a range of whiskies imported by Impex Beverages, which is a major scotch importer in the US and represents Edradour, Fukano, Kilchoman, Penderyn and more. Even better, the president of Impex, Sam Filmus, resides near San Francisco and often on-site to guide the tastings. He is a fountain of knowledge.

We’ve gotten to know Sam quite well over the past few years and this year, he generously surprised us with Christmas presents of two samples that are our age and older, one from Tomintoul and one from Tamdhu. We put off tasting our Christmas presents for weeks, mostly because we wanted to be “ready” for such a special occasion. Part of us was also scared that perhaps the age may have over-oaked or over-mellowed the tastes. So far, we have only broken into the Tamdhu 1980… but wow. I’m glad we waited. My mouth waters at the memory.

Glencarins glass filled with Whisky next to tiny bottle with building behind

Tamdhu 1980
  • - 9/10

Tasting Notes

Nose: We spent a lot of time just nosing this one. Orange raisins, honey blossom, caramel, walnut, and musty wood barrels. A few noses on, chocolate started developing.

Palate: Honey, almost floral palate, light and candied sherry taste with rich ripe berries. Coats the mouth with a cold wood sensation – then chocolate-covered citrus peels. There is a whiff of lacquered leather at the finish. No water required.


TLDR: “Orange silk on a leather couch.” Overview: Silky and soft, but also complex fruit notes. Delicious. Bought for: Free sample from independent bottling rep.

Quick overview of our scoring system

Additional Information

  • Cask: 9227. Since it’s Tamdhu, it’s probably an Oloroso sherry
  • ABV: Unknown but tastes <50%
  • Sent to Sam but never bottled. (I suspect it is from the Creative Whisky Company since Sam distributes for their Exclusive Malts line – and they did do a bottling of 35-year 1980 Tamdhu at one point)

About Tamdhu:

  • Tamdhu is known for aging its whisky exclusively in Oloroso sherry casks. It was formed in 1896 by a consortium of merchants and blenders (including William Grant)
  • Known as the “Can-Dhu Spirit” since it’s used often as a blend component and is a sister distillery to Glengoyne

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