Here it is. The well-respected patriarch of the Talisker family. You may have read others waxing poetically about this one elsewhere online, and they were absolutely justified in doing so. There’s simply no two ways about it…this is utterly spectacular whisky.
Talisker, much like many of the Diageo brands, has maintained a rather limited range of expressions for several years now, and even those select few variants that did hit the shelves were often not destined for all markets. Here in Canada, for example, we’ve been privy only to the 10 y.o. and the Distiller’s Edition. I’ve had to go south to the US for the 18 year, and the 57° North – up until about two months ago – forget it. Fingers are still crossed for the Port Ruighe and Storm.
As you may have read here, an opportunity recently arose to taste a brilliant range of very special older Talisker expressions. These bottles were sourced from far and wide, put aside over the years and uncorked only when the proper occasion arose. Needless to say, a whisky such as this 35 year old is one that definitely deserves an occasion. This is a very special dram. And to the gent who poured it for me…thank you, sir.
Diageo managed only 3,090 bottles from this mix of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. The spirit was born in 1977, and bottled in 2012. So…’70s distillate from a mix of casks…at great age and hefty strength. What would that lead you to expect? Personally, I was looking for a whisky with a touch of mellowed peat and smoke, emerging tropicals and a faded peppery note that more often than not defines Talisker. Interestingly enough, what I got was exactly that. But the stunning balance and clarity of delivery was the true surprise. A once in a lifetime whisky.
(Tasting notes from a previous session, wherein this was one of 9 great Talisker releases)
Nose: Absolutely redolent of fruit. Like Five Alive fruit juice. Citrus notes…almost tropical. Pears in syrup. A touch of pineapple. Mild pepper (that Talisker fingerprint is well-faded by this age though). The sexiest of restrained smoke. White chocolate. A beautiful ‘old whisky’ note that almost defies description. Some mild farmy notes. And yes…peat.
Palate: A lot of fruit again. Some melons this time as well. Citrus. The arrival is creamy, but vibrant and tangy with some orange and milk chocolate right up front. Ginger and pepper prickle and lead into the peat and pepper we expect. Smoother than silk though. Absolutely beautiful.
Thoughts: This is simply magic. The nose is absolutely ‘to die for’ and the palate is austere, refined and sublime. One of the all time great whiskies, not just from Talisker, but from any distillery.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt