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Issue 89 - Still mourning

Whisky Magazine Issue 89
July 2010


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Still mourning

Tamdhu is the latest distillery to be mothballed. Gavin D. Smith reports.

To describe Tamdhu as a ‘lost' distillery is somewhat premature, as it only ceased production this spring, and remains on a ‘care and maintenance' basis. Nonetheless, it is silent, and owners The Edrington Group have no plans to re-open it in the foreseeable future. However, the organisation continues to utilise Tamdhu's three dunnage warehouses and single racked warehouse, which boast a total capacity of some 1,800 casks.

Compared to the company's high-profile Macallan and Highland Park single malts, Tamdhu has played a less glamorous role in the organisation's fortunes, principally providing bulk spirit for blending, and in particular for The Famous Grouse blend.

Tamdhu takes its name from the Gaelic for ‘black hill,' and is located in the heart of Speyside, beside the Knockando Burn and just north of the River Spey. It stands next door to Knockando distillery and close to Cardhu. It was established at the height of the late 19th century expansionist movement in the Scotch whisky industry, being constructed during 1896/97 for a consortium of whisky blenders, operating under the name of the Tamdhu Distillery Company.

William Grant, director of the Highland Distillers Company, raised £19,200 from 15 partners to create the distillery, which cost £19,200 to build, and was designed by Charles Doig, the Elgin architect responsible for so much of Speyside's distilling landscape.

Production began in July 1897, and despite initial disputes over the rights to water source...

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