Google Talisker from now to 1957

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

March 20, 2018


Time Warp

The Time Warp Sessions,
today Talisker from now to 1957

It seems that the indies are having a little more Talisker these days, not obligatorily under that name. A good excuse for today’s session that we’ll try to do without too much order. Order is not always fun.

Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, +/-2018)

Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, +/-2018) Five stars
Last time we tried the 10 that was in 2015 (WF 90!) while fearing that they would discontinue it. They have not, at least not in all markets. Colour: deep gold. Nose: this feeling of smoked brine that I enjoy so much. Some kind of Scottish broth with oysters, Thai basil, kumquats - or yuzu - plus shoe polish, tangerines, tiger balm, engine oil… In truth I never quite understood why some good folks kept claiming that Talisker was only ‘lightly’ peated. Mouth: perfect, clean, smoky, briny, very slightly toasted (barbecued scones – oh the h…) with drops of lemon juice and seawater. Excellent. Finish: long and salty. Perhaps a tad less peppery than earlier bottlings? Not too sure. Comments: gee, what lightly peated? Oh I’ve just noticed that the excellent people at TWE are quoting me on this one, it’s true that I had written that Talisker 10 was ‘always a benchmark’. They may keep that line, Talisker 10 is always a benchmark.
SGP:367 - 90 points.

We’ve also got a +/-2016 on the tasting table, frankly, it’s extremely similar.
Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, +/-2018) SGP:367 - 90 points.

Talisker 8 yo 2008/2016 (46%, Douglas Laing, Provenance, refill hogshead, cask #11178)

Talisker 8 yo 2008/2016 (46%, Douglas Laing, Provenance, refill hogshead, cask #11178) Four stars
There may have been some caramel in the OBs, while there isn’t any in this indie one. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: it’s shier than the OB, a tad more ethanoly, and with rather more fruits from youth, namely pears. A little more porridge as well, dough, smoky yoghurt (I know, I know)… Very nice but rather simpler. Mouth: much closer to the OB, just a tad more brutal, barley-y… But it remains very excellent. Wonderful freshness and sharpness. Finish: long, clean, salty, blade-y. Comments: this is funny, I had a sister cask two years ago that was one year younger and much more immature. This one’s already pretty perfect.
SGP:456 - 87 points.

Talisker ‘Nest Point’ (45.8%, OB, +/-2017)

Talisker ‘Nest Point’ (45.8%, OB, +/-2017) Four stars
Quick, let us forget that this is NAS while being twice more expensive than the 10, a set-up that I’ll never, ever understand… Sure this one must come with a story and a rationale, but I just won’t bother learning about them… Colour: gold. Nose: much less happening in this one. Caramel and smoke, a spoonful of sawdust, vanilla, croissants, cappuccino… The Taliskerness has been toned down – but why would anyone do that? The oak is soft and fine, though, it’s just that we’re not into this for that - did I make my point? Mouth: better, but it’s very close to the 10, with just a little more citrus and lemony oak spices, around basil or dill or yuzu and stuff. Finish: no, it’s long, but there’s too much cinnamon and sawdust for me. More pepper than in the 10, but not quite the fresh pepper we enjoy so much in some Taliskers. Comments: not bad of course, and even very good, but it’s been killed by the fresher 10 within this little line-up.
SGP:467 - 85 points.

And now, Talisker Skye and Port Ruighe… I’m joking.

Talisker 18 yo (45,8%, OB, +/-2017)

Talisker 18 yo (45,8%, OB, +/-2017) Five stars
WF 89 in 2015. Colour: gold. Nose: as expected, this is more complex, we’d have even said more feminine before Weinstein. Rather on soft tobaccos, a little thyme, crème de menthe, dried eucalyptus leaves, hessian, green pu-erh, plus hints of raw cocoa and coffee beans… I really enjoy all these subtleties… Mouth: exceptional, harder and stronger than on the nose, more peppery, drier and more elegant than the Neist Point, with perfect notes of smoked herbs, herbal wines, mint tea, lime… There’s also more herbs than in the younger ones. Very very good, in my opinion. Finish: rather long, spicier without any excessive notes, with bitter oranges and just touches of cloves, very discreet. Comments: super high quality, a perfect bottling, with both the zestiness of youth and the complexity of older age.
SGP:456 - 90 points.

Shall we go on a little bit longer?…

Island 17 yo 2000/2017 (52.9%, Jack Wiebers, for Whisky Ship Zürich, bourbon, cask #271 b, 155 bottles)

Island 17 yo 2000/2017 (52.9%, Jack Wiebers, for Whisky Ship Zürich, bourbon, cask #271 b, 155 bottles) Four stars and a half
This baby’s said to be Talisker, but of course, we’ve got no proof. But the glass should tell… Colour: pale gold. Nose: ah. Carbon paper, smoked porridge, damp earth, sour fruits, yoghurt… It’s all very tense, let’s see… With water: lemon-flavoured yoghurt from some organic farm in the Swiss Alps (so not too far from Zürich). Mouth (neat): oh, vanilla-ed smoked tea, the greenest lime, green chillies, star fruits, curry, coriander (big)… This is what you could only get from ‘deviant’ single casks, and it’s a lot of fun, really a lot of fun. With water: love these notes of raw lemons, the yoghurt, the rather yeasty smokiness, the sweet peppers… Finish: medium, greatly sour, lemony, and smoky. Comments: deviant indeed, but very lovely. Loved the sour side of it. Nothing tells me that this is not Talisker.
SGP:366 - 88 points.

Let’s further push all this…

Skye 1972/1991 (43%, Berry Bros & Rudd)

Skye 1972/1991 (43%, Berry Bros & Rudd) Five stars
This ought to be Talisker, or I eat my tasting glass. Not too sure if they were still using the Distillery's own maltings (closed 1972) and whether this was distilled before the stills were converted to steam heating or not (in 1972 as well). Colour: deep gold. Nose: good, sherry and peat can work, or it can lead to some utter disaster. This worked, and greatly so. Smoked chestnuts, smoked honey, old furniture polishes, Shangri-La’s bespoke shoeshine cream (I swear I’m clear and clean), cigars, and above all, a lot of artisan chocolate. Mouth: have you ever tried smoked chocolate from some proper chocolatiers? This is rather sublime, fragile at times (difficult balance), but this brine-y/lemony/chocolaty smoky blend just works. A lovely touch of liquorice brings some extra-dimension. Finish: medium, always a tad fragile, wandering from salty territories to darker chocolaty ones. Comments: a style from the past, although this wasn’t bottled such a long time ago. These old BBRs never fail you. Believe me, I know this from experience. Cheers Ronnie and Jonny!
SGP:355 - 92 points.

A last one, perhaps…

Talisker 1957 (100° UK proof, Gordon & MacPhail, 1970s)

Talisker 1957 (100° UK proof, Gordon & MacPhail, 1970s) Five stars
We’ve already tried several 1957s by G&M at various strengths, but never this one. I mean, formally… This was distilled before a fire destroyed the stillhouse in 1960, and using Talisker's own maltings. Colour: deep gold. Nose: woohoo! The black label at 70°proof is already quite something, but it can be a little fragile. Not the case at all here, this is just massively plasticky, soapy in a good way (that is possible, mind you), and it would start to gather all oils and saps known to Man. With water: congrats, we managed to tame it. Ripe figs and longans, artemisia, nashi… Mouth (neat): huge, minty, sharp yet rich and thick, almost excessive. Big mint, artisan toothpaste (excuse me?), brine, smoked oysters, Seville oranges, menthol cigarettes, menthol snuff… It’s quite a wrestler, Hulk Hogan in a bottle. With water: as often with these great bottlings by G&M, you have to be careful with water and not add to much. Maybe is that related to the way they are/were filtering their whiskies? So with only a few drops, you’re getting a rounder, smooth and almost rather softly honeyed Talisker. Buy a good pipette, that’s a better investment than fake collectables. Finish: long, and should you have added only a wee drop of proper water (again, Vittel is my choice – Nestlé, I know the cheque’s in the mail, but where’s the mail?), it’s getting all on smoked western fruits. Comments: really, careful with water. But then… Now the BBR was more mentholy/medicinal, which I enjoyed a little better.
SGP:456 - 91 points.

But indeed, the regular Talisker 10…

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Talisker we've tasted so far






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