I spent a bit of time deciding what to take a look at today and as I browsed my shelves for inspiration there was one bottle that just kept catching my eye, Talisker….
It surprised me too !!
I had a real hatred for this whisky in the past,well certainly in my early years of drinking whisky this distillery was the one that really put me off the peated expressions, the medicinal, hospital analysis was spot on for me and I just didn’t want it..
Years of torture from a few industry people like Colin Dunn and Ollie who I have the utmost respect for, both ribbed me for having no taste and it became a long running joke, I had no palate.. I only wanted the more delicate flavours from the lowlands, the fruitiness from Speyside and that would never change however our palate does !!
These days I search out the more robust flavours and although this might still fall short of a love affair for peat and billowing smoke it is certainly on the radar these days.. I have always maintained whilst doing this blog that although peated whisky wasn’t my first choice I did still have an understanding and appreciation for the whisky..
There is a big difference between loving a style and appreciating the style, I believe it gives you a more balanced look at things and whenever I review peated whisky I certainly take more notice and find myself working harder to understand the underlying messages the whisky has to offer ( yes I did say work hard ! )
Talisker has been one of the whiskies I find myself having to work hard with and that is true with others but it all started to fall into place when I spent a little more time with Colin Dunn and listened to him explaining the merits and background to this style of whisky and his approach to drinking it.. Colin is a perfectionist and when he talks you do your best to listen, he takes you on a mystical journey and somehow you finish the journey being converted, I can attest to this because I journeyed with him through the taklisker range and converted to taliskerism ( that really needs to be a religion )
So, I know I have reviewed Talisker before, even the distillers edition but not this vintage, the reason behind doing this vintage is two fold, firstly will it be the same liquid that put me off so quickly and secondly, if it is, will my palate have adjusted enough to actually appreciate that very liquid today..
This bottle along with a few others were bought around 10 years ago and have sat patiently just waiting for the day when I was finally ready and at the right stage on my journey to actually appreciate the contents ( well I hope that’s the case )
Talisker 1999 Distillers Edition – Review
Region.. Islands ( Isle of Skye )
Age.. 10 years
Casks.. First fill bourbon finished in Amoroso sherry casks
The finish in these Distillers Editions is only short term but it always seems to be enough to calm the smoke down and release the wonders that can be hiding underneath the dominant peat notes..
Nose.. Those sherry notes take control and offer a nice introduction to the gentle rising smoke, Fresh apples, pineapple and plum notes trickle through with freshly baked gingerbread biscuits, burning toffee as you dunk apples into it and dark chocolate infused with orange all have their slot of fame but then the peat starts to awaken and brings with it a real earthiness, a smouldering fire style with old cigar leaf aromas and cinder toffee..
Palate.. This does taste slightly more full on than the more modern style but the peat and smoke bring in an earthiness that allows the fruity side enough time to pop in and say hello.. There is the typical pepperiness / Chilli that I find in all the Talisker range..
Finish.. Lingering heat and warming spices
Thoughts.. An older style Talisker that offers slightly more that i expected, plenty of depth and a little funkiness that always intrigues me.. I certainly do feel like the whisky within has changed a little over time but that is only to be expected, there seems to be a calmness to the more modern day Talisker’s which certainly helps it appeal to me more..
One thing that is often said about Talisker is that it reflects the island of Skye perfectly, it’s rugged edges and ever changing personality is just like the shore line of the Island and I have to agree, the whisky does have some rough edges, it alters as you drink it and thats what makes it what it is..