Talisker is the only distillery (for now) on the wonderful Isle of Skye, the big island that, with Mull, Jura and Islay, belongs to the Inner Hebrides. Famous holiday destinations, every year sustains the invasion of hordes of
zombies tourists looking for the spectacular landscapes of the Cuilins. I visited the distillery myself in 2014 during my Highlands trip. The visitor centre is quite new and it’s definitely equipped to handle the large number of tourists (me included) coming during the summer season – to be fair, I was there in May. And it was packed, nevertheless.
The distillery motto is “Made by the sea“, and in the character of Talisker this marine component is fundamental, from the packaging to the names of the editions, to the very taste of the whisky. I review here the classic entry level of the distillery, the famed Talisker 10 years old that, and I can already say it here and now, is one of the best single malts for quality/price ratio on the market. Hoping that it won’t be discontinued and substituted by the two new NAS launched in the past years (Talisker Skye e Talisker Storm). But let’s not start with our conspiracy theories and let’s drink this whisky like the classic Aesop’s Grasshopper.
As for most of Diageo editions (Talisker belongs to this spirit colossus), this malt is chill-filtered and coloured, and it is bottled at the usual Talisker alcoholic level of 45.8% after being aged for more than 10 years in ex-bourbon casks. In the glass is quite amber-y and dark, and it also has some peated malted barley in the mix.
Nose: A bit of smoke – not too much – barbecue, but mainly and unmistakably sea, salty air. The briny, salty scents are enhanced and exalted by the peat smoke, which is definitely not too dominant. At a certain point I smell a strong, intense sweetness (vanilla, you too?) and some fruits amazingly well balanced with the marine side. This soft ensemble is unexpected as it would be a caress from The Undertaker. Clementines? Bananas? The alcohol is there, but it doesn’t compromise the general awesomeness.
Palato: Hash, seaweed, and fruity aromas fight together in a body which is quite rich and spicy. Pepper, apples, now the sugars dance with wolves. And imagine all that on a white, Ebridean beach. That banana I smelled before seems to be riper and even sweeter. It’s quite entertaining, and every time I taste this Talisker I find (I imagine?) something new.
Finish: Medium length, marine aftertaste, very peppery. I might imagine also some leathery notes towards the end, with that smoke that closes the curtains with the grace of Margaery Tyrell.
Overall: A whisky for brave captains, for sea lovers and definitely not for those ones who look for a “smooth” whisky: 84/100. As I mentioned, one of the best whiskies for the quality/price ratio, as it is possible to find this beauty for under 40 euros. With the Talisker 10 you’ll be able to get a little beautiful gem at an affordable price.