Review No.20 – Hepburn’s Choice Tamdhu 10 Year Old

Silence for months then two reviews in two days. It’s the feast or famine whisky blog, unfortunately where even the feast doesn’t taste very good – this review is getting in to Dalmore 18 territory.

So, today’s review is of an Independent Bottling of Tamdhu 10 from Hepburn’s Choice that I picked up a shortwhile back during lockdown and polished off with my brother one evening. I have forgiven him for spilling some of it too, mainly because it was a very average whisky. That could very well be this review in a nutshell: Not Overly Arsed When Spilled.

Hepburn’s Choice. What is it? Well, it’s Hunter Laing’s releases of Single Cask bottlings, most of which – if not all – are bottle at 46% (watered down Single Cask?), are Non-Chill Filtered, and have No Colourant Added. 2 out of 3 isn’t bad, I guess. The name comes from the directors’ late maternal grandfather, William Hepburn, and is named in his honour after his globetrotting role with the Diplomatic Service (the civil service; not an indie band).

Now don’t let this be a reflection of Tamdhu’s actual 10 Year Old release, which is great. So great that Christine bought her Da a bottle and I then offended him by giving him a sample of this to try alongside. One possible reason why he doesn’t really speak to me.

Anyway, enough denigration! Let’s just do the review.

Hepburn’s Choice Tamdhu 10 Year Old 46% (2007), £48 from The Whisky Barrel

Cask type was a Sherry Butt, but unsure on fill – 3rd maybe, judging by the colour and almost zero influence on nose and flavour. As ever, it’s rested for about 10 minutes in a Glencairn.

Colour: White Wine. Very pale.

Nose: Hints of sour apple sweets, which is actually quite nice, but the sour/tartness is quite gutsy. Even at 46% this has the whiff of a higher ABV. There’s unripened pears and subtle vanilla too, but nothing too complex is going on here.

Palate: Sharp on the tongue, quite sweet too. There’s a definite sweet shop/confectionary aroma and taste to this, however it’s all overpowered by just how raw the whisky seems to be. I could, at a stretch, associate this almost-acidic flavour with citrus such a limes…

Finish: Quick, bitter….it leaves that slightly-smarting sourness on my tongue just like sour sweets (warheads) did when I ate them as a kid. It’s not actually unpleasant becaue, well, sweets, but it’s not what I am looking for in a whisky.

I’m sure there are folk who do and will love cutting whiskies like this, but I am not one of them. It’s always good to try a new IB and it’s something I have been getting more in to in recent times (Carn Mor, Adelphi, North Star, Berry Bros to name a few), but for a first experience of their bottlings, I do not think this is their best.

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