Let’s have a go at another of the great old Talisker 25s. This one a little less great than the earlier editions that bounced around at more natural cask strengths, but well worth discussing anyway. For whatever reason (read: profit margins and stretching of mature stocks) Diageo opted to bring this one (and I think the 2011 edition) down to their standard Talisker strength of 45.8%. Still respectable compared to a lot of the standard industry bottling strengths, but such a shame to hobble a malt like this in its prime.
Talisker is one of the most iconic of Scotch whiskies. A peppery, moderately peaty malt from the Isle Of Skye. Its character is immediately recognizable in youth, but becomes a little more chameleonic in its twilight years. As with most peated (or peppery)whiskies in their 20s and 30s, you’ll see an emergence of fruits at this age that serves to slightly outshine some of the more phenolic notes. To me, Talisker is Talisker at any age, but it definitely gets better as the years move on.
I’ve seen some of the less than enthusiastic reviews of this one online and, while I know where they’re coming from, I’ll go somewhat contrarily here. Not because I don’t agree with the gist of their beef (the lower bottling strength, in relation to previous iterations), but because the whisky has to stand and fall on its own merits. The malt is really good, and at the end of the day this was a $220CA bottle of 25 Talisker. Hard to believe, in this age of seriously skyrocketing pricing structures. That sort of value for dollar may NEVER be seen again from this distillery.
I did put aside a couple bottles of this one, but may actually scoop one or two more before they’re gone for good.
Nose: Old book and a little bit of dust. Faint smoke and light earthy peat. Nice soft white fruits in syrup (green grapes and pears, maybe). A note of blanched almond. Salt and pepper. Wet beach. Faint waxiness. A little bit of leather. And…some more sweet fruit notes. There is an odd tangy note here too (coming from sherry maybe?).
Palate: Yep. Talisker with age: delish. A sweet candy, gum-like fruitiness. Mouthwatering. Mature, waxy and beautiful. Lemon juice over oyster. Pepper. Might be some bittersweet chocolate too. Tastes like there’s some sherry at play here, but its influence is minimal.
Thoughts: Not the glorious old Talisker 25 of days gone by, but great nevertheless. Definitely still a ~90 pointer.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt