Re: Talisker - 10th January 2009 - 7pm GMT
I only have the 175th Anniversary open now, but here's notes I've made of some others.
Talisker 10yo 45.8% abv
Nose: Homemade jelly, hint of a distant fire, honeysuckle, bay leaves, seaweed, salt
Palate: Smoke, cooked sugar, dried celery/chives, Blackened steak
Body: Oily, but thin
Finish: Peppery, long, and forceful
Notes: With water: a woodsy note with a mellower sweetness in the aroma; the taste just flattens the pepper and smoke to no improvement, stick to neat. This distillery has really grown on me over the years. A random day notes a beguiling nose and much deeper flavor, now I know why this distillery holds such a special place with me. Today it’s a 90
Talisker 18yo 45.8% abv
Color: Apricot gold
Nose: Soft, light smoke, sea-shore, delicate floral sweetness (honeysuckle, lavender?), caramel, honey
Palate: Wooden warehouse, salty air, stony ash, powerfully sweet, tart middle, green tea
Body: Rich, stinging liveliness
Finish: Peppery burn (green chili’s), lingering until it fades out gradually to a hint of smoky dryness
Notes: A lot going on in the nose, so much in fact it will take a while to fully explore. The palate is equally elusive in its defining flavors. Great quality malt that has me stumped. This one will definitely be a challenge, A preliminary score will have to do for now. Revise: Getting lost in the nose today moves this up a notch above the 10yo; it just has an extra elegant quality of sweet, smoky goodness. You know it’s a good malt when the empty glass is a pleasure to nose.
Talisker 1992 Distiller’s Edition, Double Matured in Amoroso Sherry 45.8% abv
Color: Amber gold
Nose: Stone fruit (apricot, peach), Sherry, wood note, spice/smoke note
Palate: Sweet, tangy, tart, spicy middle, fruit richness, sherry, wood
Body: Brisk, firm, lively
Finish: Long, drying, stony, spicy pepper trail keeps surging to the end
Notes: Very flavorful palate that defies the light gentle nose. For someone who enjoys the smell as much as the taste I hesitate to say it lacks just a little bit, but there are no surprises. Pleasant and true to tradition. With a splash of water: Subtler fruit and wood notes in the aroma; it takes the edge off the spice in the taste and depending on the mood that could be good or not. Revise: the culmination of all positive flavors boost this from 87 to 89.
Talisker 25yo bottled in 2004, 21,000 bottles, bottle #18827, #18824, #19022 refill cask, 57.8% abv
Color: Light gold
Nose: Dusty books, distant fire, wet peat, mustard seed, pecan pie, buttered toast, stony, wood, celery stalk, green leaves
Palate: Sweet, then a Szechuan pepper explosion, spicy tang builds in the middle, an exhalation of billowing smoke with an oak backbone
Body: Effervescent, silky and dry at the same time
Finish: Mildly drying, yet powerfully strong as it takes a salty fade
Notes: So much complexity that I’ll probably revise these notes at each tasting. This is so powerful in a way that controls every element with ease. With a splash of water: a hay/dried bracken aroma with custard in the air; the taste is a sweeter, calmer version of it all. Kind of reminds me of the 18yo now with more of a mint flavor in the finish.
Score : 94
Talisker 20yo, Limited Edition '81-'02, 9000 bottles, #422, Sherry Cask, 59.7% abv
Nose: Sherry, spice, wet oak, tobacco, earthy/herbal, pepper, mint, stony dry effect like raw cocoa, oats or granola cereal, faint smoky note like a long dead campfire, fisherman’s wharf
Palate: Sweet, then enormous wood spice, a dampness like a cellar floor, an off-note of perfume, ashy, old leather
Body: Firm, bracing, Bourbon oiliness
Finish: The black pepper notes turn to cayenne and never lets go the clench
Notes: The nose just keeps exposing itself at each sniff. A little astringent at first it opened up nicely. The taste initially very Macallan-like, with intense sherry influence which completely obliterates any smoke hint, but with the trademark Talisker pepper hitting its stride. With a splash of water: A rainy day in the forest aroma; taste is much tamer, but has a cardboard aftereffect and still too dry a finish. The score reflects a fresh bottle and may revise, but as of now a bit disappointed despite the intensity, not the most enjoyable. Revise: as I make my way through the bottle, the detracting elements actually give a sense of complexity that I’ve come to appreciate, even though not in a favorite profile kind of way, but just for the unique ability to create something a bit different. I will up the score from an initial 82 to 89, which reflects more the quality. Revise2: At the very end of the bottle an extreme bitter note consumed the profile, but I left the score alone to address the unique quality that was there for the majority of the contents.
Talisker 175th Anniversary Edition 45.8% abv
Color: Tarnished gold
Nose: Old smoky campfire, stewed fruits (peaches, pears, apples), herb butter, light honey hint, canvas, antique furniture, stony minerals, dried flowers, driftwood, rose stems, old books with cotton/leather binder, seashore and barnyard
Palate: Billowing fireplace smoke, aged oak, captivating sweet/herbal middle, dry spice next (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger), then earthy spices (bay, thyme, cumin), salt and pepper, then a more sweet mesquite smoke note, and candy cane/spearmint tail
Body: Oily, thick texture, super long legs down the glass
Finish: Fresh parsley, smoked salmon with herb/honey butter delicately trail off
Notes: One of the most complex aromas I’ve ever experienced in a Single Malt. Or I’m just having a good nose day. No, the palate is just as nice. With qualities of the Laphroaig 30yo, this deserves high praise indeed. With a splash of water: a melding of grilled pineapple and coal smoke strike a chord in the aroma; taste is oh so alluring with the sum of all the parts in play. There has to be some older stock in here for all this palate dancing. I especially like the way the smoke morphed so many times from campfire, fireplace, mesquite BBQ, smoked fish to coal stove.
Score : 92