Talisker Distillers Edition
(Distilled 2005, bottled 2015, batch TD-S:5RD, 45.8%)
10 year old Talisker is one of those stalwart and reliable whiskies that is often the saving grace behind mediocre bars or on supermarket shelves. (Let’s spurn the various Skye and Storm iterations though which are both more expensive and less interesting.)
What if you fancy a wee change though and pick up the Distillers Edition? This is 10 years old too, but is finished in Amoroso sherry casks. I’m no sherry expert, but as far as I can tell this is a type of sweetened sherry (usually with oloroso as its base), something like the – now deeply unfashionable – cream sherries of yore.
Nose: Its a sweet and fruity nose from the off – and there’s a slightly odd floral edge to it, maybe somewhere between rose petals and lily of the valley? It’s something that you tend to find in port cask whiskies too. Inhale deeply and you find more sherry and raisins, and just hints of smoke – cigarette smoke at that. (Incidentally, I was thinking the other day how infrequently you encounter that these days – instead people roam the streets emitting clouds of plug-in-air-freshener-like odours from silly little wands. I’m no Luddite but, bloody hell, the future is turning out to be unfathomably naff.) With time it settles down a bit and more typical Talisker coastal notes start to show up – sea water, old netting, boquerones in oil, cedar wood.
Taste: Quite big and oily. There’s a fair bit of orange, and this sort of odd salty and chalky thing going on – a bit like fizzy water with lemon and an aspirin in it. The typical Talisker peppery note is there, but quite muted. As it develops the sherry pops out a little more, and there’s a bit of candied lemon.
Finish: The floral hints come back, and there’s some tangy-sweet dried fruits. Cranberries, maybe? Smoke and ashes start to come through, and then into a long, deep finish with oranges, chocolate and a touch of salt. It’s a really nice finish.
So, I find this an odd little beast. There’s a lot going on and some quite strange aspects, but that actually makes it entertaining to drink. It’s more of a daft diversion than a “proper” whisky, I suppose, but I really have no objection to that. It’s supposed to be fun, this whisky lark, you know.
What’s less fun is the 50% or more premium you pay for this bottle over the standard Talisker 10. Value is always a personal judgement, but it’s in the same price bracket as some great drams, so it’s certainly one I’d look to try before buying. Worth the trying though.