Tag Archive: Talisker

Talisker: Storm (Scottish Island Single Malt Whisky: No age: 45.8% ABV)

Visual: Deep gold.

Viscosity: Medium streaks.

Nose: Tarry peat smoke. Dried beef slices. Honey. Peppery. Noticeable alcohol. Sulphur. Charred oak. Cigarette ash. Water adds more smoke, salty rocks and caramel. Slightly floral.

Body: Smooth – caramel and custard. Alcohol if held. Tarry. Dried beef slices. Red cherries. Water makes more caramel and more tarry notes. No alcohol evident now. Peppery. Even more water increases the caramel.

Finish: Bready. Peaty. Some moss. Malt chocolate. Red cherries. Dry. Water adds salt, charring and mild chocolate cake. Fudge. Peppery.

Conclusion: Quick summary – with no water, meh this is ok. With water – oh yeah, this is what I am looking for. Either way, the aroma tells you exactly what is coming.

The aroma is tarry, peaty and evident from way across from the glass. I could pickup the first notes while still doing the photo shots at the start. Lots of thick notes here, but without the harsh or medicinal notes that an Islay would have in a similar whisky.

Neat it is fairly smooth – if held too long alcohol does develop, but generally nothing too heavy. However when neat the flavours doesn’t hold half the weight that the aroma promises – it is generally more dominated by the smoother caramel notes. There is some rounding – some dried beef slices and interesting cherry notes, but really lacking the tarry thickness of the aroma.

As I have been indicating at the start, water really does the job here. The alcohol is all smoothed away – a slight island salty and rocky character gets added to the smooth caramel base. More importantly the bigger notes promised come out – peppery, thick, tarry. It is still smooth bodied but now with a weight of flavour which then leads out into a chocolate and fudge finish that is matched by peat and salt.

It feels like it takes all the benefits of a harsh Islay, strips the harshness and adds it to the traditional island Talisker complexity.

Another stormer (ha-ha) of a whisky from Talisker.

Background: The final of a pack of three Talisker miniatures grabbed from Independent Spirit. This one is described as a more intense flavours take on the standard Talisker. Which sounds good by me. I was a bit nervous as I know either Storm, or Dark Storm has a really bad reputation. But, since I couldn’t remember which I tried to not let that influence me. This was drunk while listening to Ulver: The Assassination of Julius Caesar again. Still getting used to the very different nature of it, but good background drinking music.


Talisker: Skye (Scottish Island Single Malt Whisky: No Age: 45.8% ABV

Visual: Deep bronzed apricot.

Viscosity: Mix of slow and fast medium sized streaks.

Nose: Salt. Wet rocks. Smoke. Seaweed and rich caramelised brown sugar. Crumpets. Black liquorice. Water makes slight golden syrup backing and treacle.

Body: Smooth. Vanilla and soft lime. Rocks. Some alcohol character. Brown sugar. Light peaty and meaty character. Slight vanilla custard. Water makes buttery and smooth. Apricot. White chocolate.

Finish: Brown sugar. Crumpets. Slight chalk. Slight charring. White bread. Cooked pork. Vanilla custard. Water makes buttery with a mix of white chocolate and golden syrup. Tinned tropical fruits and toasted teacakes.

Conclusion: For all this does have an alcohol touch to it, this is a very smooth whisky – one that progresses from gentle sweet elements to entice you in, into the more recognisable, robust Talisker character.

It holds the gentle peat warmth, the slight salt and the gentle not-Islay island coastal character of a standard Talisker, and rides out into vanilla custard and brown sugar as the sweet base develops. This is not too unexpected – while this is less forceful than the 10 year old, it still plays in a familiar ball park.

What stands out here is the gentle bready character to the whole thing – from crusty white bread to crumpets – all touched with buttery sweetness – it gives both a gentle grip and an extra smoothness in the combination. The butteryness especially feels thick – slightly oily – full natural butter feeling with the flavour rather than cheap supermarket stuff.

Water soothes the alcohol touches it had when neat, and brings out some sweet aprictots, but the general gist of the thing remains the same.

Overall a very impressive dram that captures both the expressive island character. And a slightly more gentle sipping whisky, balanced by toasted teacake top and bottom.

A gentle yet complex and toasted dram. Very nice, very easily drinkable – very much up my street.

Background: So, after the uber whisky night I felt like more whisky a day or so later. So, I remembered I had a pack of miniature Taliskers I had grabbed from Independent Spirit a few weeks before. Time to break them out. This one is aged in a mix of refill and toasted American oak casks – apparently to give a bit smoother character. This was drunk while listening to some of the haunting Ulver tunes on the atgclvlsscap album. Very good background, yet atmospheric music for a good whisky.


Talisker 18 (Scottish Island Single Malt Whisky: 18 years: 45.8% ABV)

Visual: Deep rich gold.

Viscosity: Quite slow thick trails.

Nose: Gingerbread. Mulled spice. Salt. Light peat and beef broth. Water mellows, touch of chocolate truffles and honey come out.

Body: Toffee sweet. Strong. Glacier cherry. Alcohol is noticeable. Salty touch. Dry smoke and peat. Beef slices. Water makes like honey in a mead fashion and adds spice amongst the salt and beef slices.

Finish:  Spicy red wine. Glacier cherries. Salt. Alcohol fills the mouth. Malt chocolate. Madeira cakes. Kippers and oils. Custard. Waters makes saltier, wet rocks and sea breeze.

Conclusion:  Talisker, the balanced heavyweight of the whisky world.  Here still with just shy of 46% abv. There is a fire to it, even with water, but as Talisker deserves, it gives you something extra in exchange for that fire.

Deliciously sweet, with rich cherry notes that become honeyed with water. Richer than the ten year and has a rounded sweet base that the salt and peat work within.  In fact considering the Talisker was the only not overly sweet whisky out of the Distillers Editions it is unusual to see this 18 year expression bring in such extra sweet notes.

As always Talisker balances that Island salt character and weight with a more restrained but delicious notes. A mix that makes it popular across the whisky lover’s spectrum. There is an alchemic mix with the sweetness not harming the heavier notes at all.

It is a whisky that asks you to work with it. No reasonable amount of water diminishes its dry finish and fire. What it does is make that effort worth it.  Varied and enjoyable in character. Sweet, spiced, salty and full of meat characteristics, harsh yet pleasant.

Talisker continues to be a spirit that shows element from the full whisky world. Rough edged and powerful, it is not as good as the distillers edition but it gives it a good run for its money.   The only real fault is the excessive burn. If, like me, you decide you can live with that then it is well worth it.

Background: Talisker has always been a solid and weighty dram, one that, to me, is up there with Highland Park on showing what people think of when they consider the loosely gathered Island Whiskies. I hadn’t hit the Rummer Hotel for a while, so with it being an extended Easter weekend I dropped over to try some good quality whisky and start off the weekend.

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.

Talisker 10 Year (Scottish Island Single Malt Whisky: 10 Years Old: 45.8% ABV)

Visual: Oranged Amber.

Viscosity: Very slow puckering and luxuriously slow ambling of streaks down the glass. It is possible that glaciers would outrace the streaks.

Nose: Vanilla, peat smoke and grass. Touch of honey and crushed leaves.

Body: Lovely peat, smoke, and smoked meats. Honey, roast beef sandwiches. Crushed tomatoes.

Finish: Smoke, ham slices, mixed meat platter.

Conclusion: This is an amazingly relaxed whisky considering the sheer depth of peat within it. The peat and smoke are present but never overpowering, allowing for smashing smoked meat expressions to come through

This is a wonderful whisky and thankfully comparatively easy to get hold of. Fine for pub enjoyment or sipping at home.

Definitely a whisky that stands out from the crowd.

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