Location, location, location. One of these television shows that assists homebuyers to find their perfect residence. I’ve watched this offering occasionally and what couples and families look for in a home just doesn’t compute.
The proximity to a good local school. When I was a lad (insert music here preferably from vinyl or cassette formats), you just went to the nearest and your ability distinguished you from the crowd. Being near transport links? Again, this is pointless on my list of priorities and there are more besides. If we were in the market and home hunting, it’d be fun to participate with my own list of requirements and drive the presenters bonkers.
Firstly storage. Not for clothes, the vacuum cleaner or shoeboxes I seem to see everywhere in my own home currently. Instead, it’s the important commodity of whisky. An appealing room, with not too much sunlight but a cavernous feeling and room for cabinets and shelving. A wee area as well for the Tormore bar as when the lads are around – it’s important that we have a den to call our own.
As far as internal requirements go, that’s it on my list. However, external factors are just as important.
The proximity to a good local pub. This is more widely available south of the border I feel, village pubs across Scotland are dwindling and the opportunity for a good chat about cattle prices and harvest are diminishing by the year. Near my current abode there is no such establishment and what exists is a decent walk away and tagged onto a bowling alley. Where I can engage in grunts and weird handshakes with the youth. Dig.
Then there is a vital piece of the jigsaw and one that cannot be ignored by Kirsty and the posh fella. An excellent whisky shop nearby has to be a must on my list. I’m not expecting to be next door – have you seen the prices for flats near Cadenheads Edinburgh? They’re worse than the Diageo Special Releases! The local off-licenses have faded away with the dominance of the supermarkets. I miss the days of being able to venture into such shops and engage in banter with the store owner and what whiskies are worth considering. And this tenuous link takes us into our review. Glasgow has a great shop in the form of the Good Spirits, or I should say shops. It’s the West Coast equivalent of Royal Mile Whiskies upon consideration, but without the tourist prices.
The company was the brainchild of a trio who all met whilst working at Oddbins. Sensing an opportunity for a specialist spirit retailer in Glasgow, they set out in business in 2011 and since then they’ve never looked back. Whenever I’m west-side, I tend to drop in and have a chat with the staff about what’s currently interesting them and check out some of their recommendations. They also host tastings for all types of spirits rather than just whisky, plus the Pot Still bar is just a short walk away.
Recently they have started bottling their own whiskies with the debut release being a Bunnahabhain followed by a Laphroaig. Both were well received and on my list to acquire but not living nearby – location location location – meant I missed out. Yes, there is the option to order online, but I do like to browse and chat.
Visiting a great whisky shop should be a rewarding social experience and not just a financial exchange.
Third time lucky, I happened to stumble across their latest release in the form of this Tamdhu 9-year-old. A very distinctive and colourful label attracts your attention, as does the price point of under £50 for something different.
Since breaking free of the shackles of Edrington in 2011, this distillery has finally established a single malt identity with a successful re-branding under the current owners, Ian MacLeod Distillers. Tamdhu was always a lovely example of a Speyside whisky with a heavy sherry influence. It can quite happily compete with the big boys on flavour profile and experience but hasn’t done so until recently.
Distilled in 2007, this Tamdhu was bottled at a healthy 58.4% strength and whilst starting life in a traditional ex-bourbon cask, was finished in 2 smaller barrels that previously held American whiskey. So its likely someone such as Koval in Chicago, provided that finish and an interesting twist for this Tamdhu. Bottled by the Creative Whisky Company, this is a firm who are doing just that; being creative whilst not charging the earth. The final outturn was 270 bottles and it’s still available.
Tamdhu 2007 The Good Spirits Co. Review
Colour: apple juice.
On the nose: a real mixture of caramel and vanilla wafers, both are quite thick and dominant initially. Breaking on through we have meringues, wood sap and eventually the fruits present themselves with kumquats then wine gums and marzipan. Water reveals pine cones, milk chocolate and melted butter.
In the mouth: very pleasant, not hugely detailed and a non-Tamdhu in many senses lacking that sherry emphasis. Instead we have pineapples, cream crackers and a clean elegance. Honeyed almonds appear after water as does vanilla nougat and ripe mangos.
As big a fan as I am of the sherried Tamdhu’s particularly those from a bygone era, its refreshing to sit down with a whisky such as this that offers a valid detour. Initially, I wasn’t hugely taken but this is a bottle you appreciate more as the fill level reduces. It’s far from being layered and richly detailed, but for its age and price tag, it offers a rewarding experience at a decent price. Confirming the quality of the Tamdhu spirit in general.