“The king o’ drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, Isla, or Glenlivet.”
…so sayeth Robert Louis Stevenson. King? Perhaps not, but a princely dram to be sure.
I’m sure it is becoming abundantly clear, I like peat. It is highly possible that someone could run over my dog, date my sister and flirt with my wife…as long as their apology included a bottle of something smoky. (Don’t get any ideas, boys). Just as with my coffee (strong and black), my wine (fat and oaky) and my beer (skunky and Euro, please), I like my whisky to have distinction and character. That is what my extra dollars go towards.
In order to truly appreciate those big smoky, phenolic bastards though, one must have certain benchmarks against which to measure. I can appreciate most any well-made whisky, but I have a few favorites against which I measure others. Talisker 10 is just such a one. It is complex enough to please a discerning palate, yet not intimidating enough to bruise the sensitivities of a whisky noob. Smoke? A little, yeah.
Talisker 10 is a mildly/moderately peated whisky from the Isle of Skye. Heavier PPM (parts per million) than the average malt, but not in league with the bullies from Islay. The true beauy? It is not so phenolic that one couldn’t be enticed to a daily dram. Often the big boys (Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Ardbeg) are occasional sippers and a little too…beefy to be an everyday bottle (not to mention the beating they give your wallet). Talisker has crafted a beauty here that has that peaty goodness I crave, but tastefully tamed to balance the lighter notes. On to those ‘lighter’ notes’…some sweetness (not quite fruity sweet)…spice…a mix of salt and pepper…maybe a little vanilla…mild citric notes. Quite coastal. It arrives in full force gales, and will continue to develop well beyond its smoky arrival into a long lasting spicy warm finish. Last flavors to fade are the smoke and pepper. Maybe a little wood.
Though these characteristics I’ve mentioned all smack of an obscene beast of a whisky, trust me when I say that it is much milder than I am letting on. Beautifully balanced to not let the peat overwhelm, but so well crafted that each note shines through and helps define something unique.
- Reviewed by: Curt
- Photo: Curt