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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

March 3, 2016


Talisker now and Talisker 50 years ago

Just what I wrote ;-).

Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, 2015)

Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, 2015) Five stars If there’s one whisky that I always follow, year after year, it’s Talisker 10 (and Lagavulin 16). Utterly loved the ones bottled in 2014, as if all these new NAS had lifted any pressure from the 10 – the best casks going into that one. Just a wild theory, of course… Colour: gold. Nose: perfect. Pure, clean, very coastal, smoky… I find engine oil, tiger balm, shoe polish, oysters, touches of green chartreuse, bandages, muscle balm (at the gym)… Everything’s just perfect. Mouth: a desert island whisky (but do they do them as double-magnums?) I find this one a tad rounder and more vanilla-ed than previous batches, though, but the peppery smoke keeps roaring. Some salt too. Finish: long, slightly acrid as it should be, salty, peppery, and a little petroly. That, I like even more. A wee camphory side yet again. Comments: always a benchmark. Rather smokier than older batches (from, say 10 years ago). SGP:367 - 90 points.

And 50 years ago, you may wonder? Let’s see…

Talisker (100° proof, Gordon & MacPhail, UK, 26 2/3 fl. ozs., +/-1970)

Talisker (100° proof, Gordon & MacPhail, UK, 26 2/3 fl. ozs., +/-1970) Five stars Really an old one, the proprietors being quoted as ‘Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd.’ And look at this colour! Colour: amber/chestnut. Nose: much rounder, smoother, with more ‘sweet’ sherry, raisins, figs… Then rather more citrus and lemony herbs. Lemongrass, lemon ginger, perhaps a little dill… All that is fine, but then we’re having beef stock and parsley, soy sauce (a drop), old copper coins, and then these oysters again, with a drop of vinegar. Tends to get earthier (moist garden peat). With water: leather, tobacco, brine, and whelks ;-). Mouth (neat): oh my this is strong, it makes me cough. The good news is that it’s also one of the best cough syrups. Bitter herbs (remember Unicum?) and eucalyptus, plus some menthol oil, all that coated with crushed sultanas and honeydew. Or something like that. With water: a thicker texture, and just a perfect old sherried peater, full of tobacco, walnuts, liquorice, marmalade, and black raisins. What it hasn’t quite got from the more modern ones is the saltiness. Finish: long, rather medicinal again. Grapefruit juice with some camphor and eucalyptus. Zestier and cleaner than expected, with a lot of citrus. Comments: as I remembered other batches of this 100 proof. There’s some rawness, and a roundness as well. Typical – and perfect – old high-octane NAS. SGP:565 - 92 points.

I can hear you complaining, what’s the point in comparing a regular 10 at lower strength with an old one at 100° proof? You’re right, let’s fix that…

Talisker '57° North' (57%, OB, +/-2009)

Talisker '57° North' (57%, OB, +/-2009) Four stars Sadly, I haven’t got a more recent batch at hand, but there, this one was bottled forty years after the G&M, at the very same strength. It’s from one of the very first batches of the ‘North’. They changed the label after a few years, not sure why. Probably some global rebranding. Colour: gold. Nose: we’re obviously closer to the recent 10, but with more roundness, and probably a little more vanilla. Fresher than the old one, zestier, a notch more mineral, and more coastal. There’s less sherry, obviously, but more paraffin. I don’t find this nose huge. With water: indeed, its very nice and fresh and all that, but perhaps a tad simple. What’s sure is that I like the 10 better, at a similar strength. Mouth (neat): feels young, lemony, peaty, slightly salty and grassy, perhaps a little monolithic? There’s a little fresh oak. With water: a rather gentler and simpler 10. Finish: rather long, a notch more earthy/oaky. Comments: really to my liking, but the 10 anytime, I find it more complex. SGP:456 - 86 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Talisker I've tasted so far


Pete McPeat and Jack Washback







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