Talisker: Distiller Edition (Scotland Island Single Malt Whisky: 11 Years: 45.8% ABV)

(Age is based on distilling 2000, bottling 2011, may be slightly off depending on the months)

Visual: Honeyed gold.

Viscosity: Comes down as a clear sheet at medium speed.

Nose: Smoke, aniseed and peat.  Underlying gooseberries.  Prickle like just off ripe berries. Shortbread. Water adds pomegranate and dried orange.

Body: Big peat and smoke. Syrupy back. Dried beef slices. Slight mulled wine spices. Elderberry at the back. Water adds marmalade to the mix and toffee. Possibly orange crème centres.

Finish: Dry beef crisps/Dried beef. Peat and smoke. Water adds milk chocolate.

Conclusion: By far the most subtle of the Distillers Editions for the influence of the secondary maturation. Odd as subtle is not a word oft used with the delicious Talisker whisky. However without water this actually is possibly even a tad heavier than the standard Talisker whisky, as opposed to most of the other Distillers Editions which were all significantly sweeter. There is subtle fruit notes rounding it out but they are all distinctly background elements.

It’s still a very nice whisky, but when you add a few drops of water, that’s when the show really begins.  A light orange sweetness is revealed, still understated but it lends a new lightness of touch to a forceful whisky.

Always slightly tongue numbing, even with water, it uses that extra punch to really bring the flavour home rather than just bring a burn, and it is very welcome.  The more water you add the sweeter the whisky gets, within reason of course, but it never comes close to overpowering the peat and smoke main whisky. This gives a lot of room to find just the right balance for your whisky, well as long as you are a fan of the heavier whiskys to begin with.

The dry fruit is a great addition, all oranges or apricot flavours which complement rather than fight this peat gripped whisky. Not as different an expression as other distillers edition but easily as high quality.

Background: Based on research (ok, ok google, that vaguely counts as research) this was double matured with Oloroso sherry casks used for the secondary maturation.  I love the varied distillers editions and have been trying to review them all. Now all I’m missing is the Lagavulin which oddly is the one I have actually drunk the most often.  Drunk at the Rummer hotel which has friendly knowledgeable staff and a great spirit selection.