TamDhu Scotch Whisky logo, Speyside Single Malt, founded 1897

Tamdhu Distillery

  • Scotland
  • Spirits Business Distillery Masters Gold Awards, Icons of Whisky 2019, Asian Spirits Masters 2018,Asian Spirits Masters 2018
  • https://www.tamdhu.com/
Phone Number
  • 01506 852205
  • Knockando, Aberlour, Scotland, AB38 7RP

Tamdhu distillery with whiskey barrels, Scotland.

History of Tamdhu Distillery

Founding and Early Years

Tamdhu Distillery, located in Speyside, Scotland, was established in 1897 by a consortium of blenders led by William Grant. The group had a clear vision: to create the finest whisky in the world. They invested a significant amount of money (equivalent to £20 million today) to realize this vision.

Renowned distillery architect Charles Doig was responsible for the design of the distillery. This design was noted for its efficiency and innovation during that era.

Ownership Changes and Expansion

In 1899, just two years after its establishment, Tamdhu was purchased by Highland Distillers Company. This marked the beginning of a series of ownership changes over the years. The distillery faced some challenges, including a temporary closure from 1927 to 1947.

Post World War II, the distillery underwent significant changes, including the replacement of old floor maltings with Saladin boxes in 1948, which was a more efficient malting process.

Production and Role in Blends

Tamdhu played a major role in blends such as The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark. Despite its significant contribution to these blends, it was not initially a front-line player in the single malt category. However, its whisky, known for its fragrant fruitiness and compatibility with ageing in ex-Sherry casks, gained recognition over time.

Recent Developments

The distillery saw a major expansion in the 1970s, with an increase in the number of stills from two to four. However, it faced another closure in 2010 when Edrington mothballed it. This closure was short-lived, as Ian MacLeod Distillers acquired and reopened the distillery in 2011.

Under the new ownership, Tamdhu has seen significant developments, including the installation of new washbacks, construction of new warehouses, and the opening of a visitor centre. The focus has also shifted to producing 100% Sherry cask-aged whiskies, with a 10-year-old release marking the first official release by the new owners.

Current Status and Production

Today, Tamdhu Distillery is fully operational under the ownership of Ian MacLeod Distillers. The distillery has a production capacity of 4 million litres per annum, focusing on single malt Scotch whisky. It continues to be a significant player in the whisky industry, combining traditional methods with modern techniques to produce high-quality whisky.

Awards Won by Tamdhu Distillery

Spirits Business Distillery Masters Gold Awards: Tamdhu received these awards for both environmental partnership work and its digital and social media campaign ‘Spain To Speyside’.

Icons of Whisky 2019: Tamdhu’s Distillery Manager, Sandy McIntyre, was honored with this award.

Asian Spirits Masters 2018: The Tamdhu 10 Year Old won a Gold Award.

San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018 and International Spirits Challenge 2018: Tamdhu Batch Strength 003 was awarded Gold.

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2023: Tamdhu’s 12 Year Old and 18 Year Old whiskies won ‘Best Whisky’ in their respective age categories. Additionally, Distillery Manager Sandy McIntyre was awarded the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Ambassador Award.

San Francisco Wine and Spirits Competition: The 18 Year Old achieved a Double Gold medal, and the Batch Strength 007 won a Gold medal.

International Spirits Challenge: The distillery secured three gold awards for the 12 Year Old, 18 Year Old, and Distinction II expressions.

International Wine & Spirit Competition: The 12 Year Old also garnered a gold award.

Tamdhu Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The Tamdhu Distillery, renowned for its sherry matured whiskies, typically does not offer regular tours to the public. However, it opens its doors once a year during the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, providing a unique opportunity for visitors to explore the distillery and experience its whisky-making process. This festival is a key event for whisky enthusiasts, offering a rare chance to visit Tamdhu Distillery and gain insights into its operations and sherry cask maturation focus.

Festival Experience at Tamdhu Distillery

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival: The distillery participates in this festival, a key event for whisky enthusiasts. Visitors can explore the distillery during the festival and learn about its history and production methods.

Exclusive ‘Spain to Speyside’ Experience: As part of their 125th-anniversary celebrations and festival activities, Tamdhu offers a luxurious ‘Spain to Speyside’ experience. This includes an in-depth tour with the distillery manager, Sandy McIntyre, providing insights into its operations and focus on sherry cask maturation.

Tastings and Special Releases: Visitors can taste various Tamdhu whiskies, including special releases. For instance, during the festival, they might be among the first to try new expressions such as the Tamdhu 18-Year-Old.

Lunch at Historical Site: The experience often includes lunch at a historical site, such as the old Dalbeallie train station, adding to the charm and authenticity of the visit.

Limited Accessibility: It’s important to note that these special tours and experiences are available only during the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, making it a unique and sought-after event for whisky lovers.

A Focus on Sherry Cask Maturation: The distillery is renowned for its exclusive use of Oloroso sherry seasoned casks, essential to the flavour profile of Tamdhu whiskies. This aspect is a significant focus during the tour, highlighting their unique approach to whisky maturation.

The Tamdhu Distillery tour offers a rare glimpse into traditional Speyside whisky-making, with a unique emphasis on sherry cask maturation. The annual opportunity to visit during the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival makes it an exclusive and memorable experience for whisky enthusiasts.

Flask & Barrel Review of Tamdhu Distillery

Tamdhu stands out in the Speyside region, not just for its whisky but for the unique experience it offers. This isn’t your everyday distillery visit—it’s more of a once-a-year golden ticket. Tamdhu opens its doors during the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, and let me tell you, it’s worth aligning your calendar for.

The journey through Tamdhu feels like stepping back in time. They’ve maintained an authentic touch to their process, especially with their sherry cask maturation. It’s clear they’re proud of this tradition, and rightly so—the depth and complexity it adds to their whisky is something special.

One of the highlights was the ‘Spain to Speyside’ experience. It’s not just a tour; it’s an immersion into the world of whisky. Led by the knowledgeable Distillery Manager, Sandy McIntyre, we got a real sense of the passion and expertise behind every bottle. Tasting the 18-Year-Old expression, a new addition to their range, was a treat. Its rich, sherry-soaked profile was a standout, even for someone who’s tasted as many whiskies as I have.

The festival-only access does make Tamdhu a bit elusive, but that exclusivity adds to its charm. It’s not just about the tasting; it’s about the experience, the history, and the people. And on these fronts, Tamdhu excels. They make you feel like part of a select group who’ve shared in something truly special.

If I had to point out a downside, it’s that regular tours aren’t available. For a distillery of this caliber, it’s a bit of a letdown not to be able to visit more frequently. But maybe that’s what keeps the magic alive.

What To Do Nearby Tamdhu Distillery

Glenfiddich Distillery: Located in Dufftown, Moray, this distillery offers a fascinating insight into whisky making. Known for being one of the first to market single malt Scotch to the world, Glenfiddich also boasts an on-site bottling facility. It’s a wonderful place to explore and understand more about the history and production of Scotch whisky.

Glen Grant Distillery: Situated in Rothes, Moray, Glen Grant is renowned not just for its distillery but also for its beautiful gardens. The gardens, filled with plants from around the world, and possibly a ghost story or two, make this a unique and enchanting visit.

The Glenlivet: Located in Ballindalloch, Moray, The Glenlivet offers a newly renovated Brand home experience. As one of the largest single malt distilleries in Scotland, its history is integral to the whisky industry as we know it today.

Glen Moray Distillery: Found in Elgin, Moray, Glen Moray is known for its innovative use of casks. The distillery, situated on the banks of the River Lossie, offers a unique perspective on whisky production.

The Macallan: In Easter Elchies, Craigellachie, Moray, The Macallan offers stunning views across Speyside. The new distillery’s architecture and the exceptional quality of their whisky make it a must-visit for any whisky enthusiast.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Tamdhu Distillery?

The Drouthy Cobbler: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can contact them on their phone at +441343666006. Their address is 48a High St, Elgin IV30 1BU, United Kingdom.

Orrin Restaurant & Bar: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441343357564. Their address is 2-6 South St, Elgin IV30 1LE, United Kingdom.

Macallan Brasserie: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. Their address is FQPV+FQ, Charlestown of Aberlour, Aberlour AB38 9RX, United Kingdom.

What hotels are near Tamdhu Distillery?

Dowans Hotel & Restaurant: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441340871488. Their address is Dowans Rd, Aberlour AB38 9LS, United Kingdom.

The Aberlour Hotel: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441340871287. Their address is 87 High St, Aberlour AB38 9QB, United Kingdom.

The Craigellachie Hotel: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441340881204. Their address is Victoria St, Speyside Way, Craigellachie, Aberlour AB38 9SR, United Kingdom.