What: I have a fondness for Talisker whisky for a few reasons: it tastes great; it has a good balance of what scotch should be; it’s always a good value; and it’s one of the first premium scotch whiskies that I was introduced to. Talisker is one of those distilleries that day in and day out makes really good whisky but isn’t as recognized in the market place as a Highland Park or The Glenlivet, but in my opinion, makes whisky that is as good. I have said for years that the 18-year-old Talisker (review to come) is one of the best values out there.
Talisker is from the Isle of Skye and is the only single malt from the island. This is from an island, but it’s not considered an Islay malt which is synonymous with heavy peat (Islay is a different island). While it’s from a different island, that’s not to say it doesn’t come with its own significant arsenal of peat. It does; but in a more subtle way as opposed to Ardbeg or any of the other heavily peated malts from Islay (see Ardbeg Article). The 30-year-old is a very limited release; this review bottle is number 2778 of 2970 bottles released worldwide in ‘08. They don’t release the 30-year-old every year, so they are a bit hard to find. I wouldn’t normally write a review about a whisky that might not be available in the area, but I thought I would share this since it is a great whisky and a good value (that’s a relative term) for a 30-year-old.
This is a cask strength whisky that is a great balance of all that a good peated scotch should have with all the full rich flavors cask strength offers. The first thing you get on the nose with this whisky is a peat with a warm seashore aroma and a lingering soft, sweet edge. The flavors aren’t far from the nose. It is a bit warm to begin with, then a soft sweetness comes to the surface with a faint citrus note somewhere in the middle. The finish is warming, and the peat seems to have been tamed a bit after it hits the back of your tongue; and while it seems to go on forever, it reveals a bit of the ocean on the very end. This is not a smooth silky whisky; it is raw and carries an edge to it like cask strength should. I added a bit of water to it on the second glass, and it opened up a bit and softened the edges some. Since it is cask strength, you can add water and stretch the bottle a bit; but for me, I like it like it is. If you have read any of my other articles lately that review cask strength whiskies, you know I’m a fan of uncut spirits the more I try them.
At the end of the day, this is a no-nonsense classic Scotch whisky. It hasn’t been tampered with by cutting it with water or finishing it off in a sherry or some sort of wine cask that you find from a lot of distilleries today trying to make their scotch different. It’s Scotch through and through, and I like it for all the reasons that you should like something that speaks to the very roots of raw, unadulterated pure Scotch whisky — as it should be.
Age: 30 Years
Cost: $300.00 +
Where to find: North Augusta wine & Spirits/Harvards in Aiken (You might not find it on the shelf but they can order it if it’s still available)