“The king o’ drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, Islay or Glenlivet” were the words of Robert Louis Stevenson and HV Morton from the poem The Scotsman’s Return From Abroad. The Talisker whisky distillery was founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, and is now owned by Diageo. It produces 3.5 million litres annually, which is relatively modest considering the distillery’s popularity. Talisker sits on Skye’s western coast, at Loch Harpor, and is the Islands only producer of single malt whisky. The island is remote and rugged, with scenic mountains and rough seas, and the landscape shines through in the flavour profile of the award winning whisky it produces. The distillery still gets its water from 21 underground springs, as it did when it was built. The whisky is produced in two wash stills and three spirit stills; from the wash stills come unique swan neck lye pipes, which trap vapours in the worms tubs and allows some alcohol to condense before it reaches the cooler. It then returns it back to the stills for the second distillation. The entire distillery was burnt to the ground in the 1960’s, and replicas of the five stills were constructed when it was rebuilt to preserve the distinctive taste of Talisker.
Talisker – Skye
Named after Isle of Skye, the location of the Talisker Distillery, this single malt comes in at 45.8%. It is matured in refill and toasted American oak casks. This bottling is like the younger brother of the group: sweet on the inside but trying to imitate it’s strong, brawny siblings.
Appearance: Dark amber in colour, almost like copper. The liquid is oily on the glass and falls with an abundance of fat legs, and equally fat droplets.
Nose: Very typical of Talisker, if not slightly softer. The nose is like a stormy sea breeze: salty and earthy. There are notes of burning wood, dry roasted oats and orange zest, with just the slightest hint of peat. Quite subtle.
Madyson: 3/5 | Rami: 3/5
Palate: The palate is waxy, yet sharp. There is the salty, peppery flavour profile associated with Talisker, but also the sweetness of salted caramel and citrus. It is a rather dry palate, and the wood and earthiness detected in the nose follow through.
Madyson: 3/5 | Rami: 3/5
Finish: Sharp and sticky. There is charred wood, damp earth and a very gentle peat to be found in the finish. There is also a slightly sweet undertone, possibly honey. You will find pepper, grassy and light smoke present.
Madyson: 3/5 | Rami 4/5.
Overall: Not a particularly complex whisky, but still enjoyable. This dram is not as powerful as other bottlings produced on the Island. Talisker fans may be disappointed, but it is an easy going variant that will appeal to a wider audience.