Talisker

Review: Cladach Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (Diageo Special Releases 2018) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Diageo.

Image courtesy of Diageo.

ABV
57.1%
Aging
First-fill ex-bourbon, refill American oak, refill European oak, Ex-sherry European oak
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Blend of malts from Clynelish, Inchgower, Oban, Talisker, Caol Ila, and Lagavulin

This is a relative rarity in the Diageo Special releases - a blended malt. This one is focused on coastal distilleries, hoping to convey a general maritime character. “Cladach” means shoreline.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: Diageo Special Releases 2018

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

What a nice whisky! The nose starts with toffee, mixed spice, a touch of sulphur, smoke, roasted meat, light tropical notes, washed-up seaweed, vanilla, and a touch of rubber. Slightly floral, too. The palate blooms with smoke, charred chickpeas, a kick of tropical fruit, and a touch of youth that works really well with its untamed presence. The lagavulin in it is just beautifully integrated. It is phenomenal at cask strength - it starts sweet, goes oily and tropical, then ashy, and fruity. The finish has rock pools, vanilla, clove, and cedar. It is very nice.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very Low (based on $312 - though you might get a better deal)


Review: Talisker 8 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Diageo Special Releases 2018) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Diageo.

Image courtesy of Diageo.

ABV
59.4%
Aging
8 Years; First fill ex-bourbon
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Talisker (Carbost, Scotland)

This whisky was distilled in 2009, not the first Talisker 8 - there used to be a series of them in the 1970s and 1980s. This is the whisky I was most excited for of the Diageo special releases this year - and a cask strength young version - yes please!


Review (2018)

  • Batch: Diageo Special Releases 2018

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2018

What a terrific nose. Pear, smoke, light tar, apple, maple, mixed nuts, loads of baking spice, and something tropical too. More medicinal than most Taliskers – and really sharp, and incredibly earthy – just awesome. Like a handful of peat – the full earthy, damp richness gets captured. Seems to brighten with time to reveal some peach, too – and the creaminess comes through. The palate is rich, lightly sweet, oaky, and loaded with vanilla – it is young, but not immature. The sweetness and light creamy texture perfectly offset the broad earthiness and sharp smoke. The tropical note is still there – mangosteens, I should think. The finish is sweet, spicy, smoky…milk chocolate, light smoke, white pepper, pear, and a touch of coconut still. Lots more – light iodine, ash, soursop, oak, and light tannin. It really opens up well with water, and it isn’t quite as sweet – and the spice and smoke come right out: 48 to 50% is the sweet spot for me.

I’m quite pleased with this – my 800th review and the dram I saved for my birthday this year.  I hope this becomes regular.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $150. But I’d get it myself - it’s right up my wheelhouse.


Review: Talisker 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Talisker 18.jpg
ABV
45.8%
Aging
18 Years
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Talisker (Carbost, Scotland)

I don’t always love the older peated whiskies, since I love immense peat quite a bit (i.e. I’ll take the younger Laphroaigs over the 18) – but Talisker 18 and Longrow 18 are both fantastic examples of terrific, old, heavily peated whiskies. It really works a trick with Talisker…


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L7319CM015 00001560

  • Bottling Date: ~2018

Rich oak – and a terrific fruity character – apple juice, pear juice – but also vanilla, baking spices, raisins, and white pepper. Lightly sweet on the nose. The palate is lightly sweet, lightly smoky, but also with a great sense of age to it. The balance is just tremendous – and it’s very easy to drink. The finish really comes on – it’s really earthy – but also with lots of chocolate, spice, nuts, raisins, vanilla, and even a touch of celery seed. A masterclass in balance.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $250.


Review: Talisker Storm Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45.8%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Talisker (Carbost, Scotland)

One of the big non-age-statement releases back when they were just beginning - Talisker ventured there with this, Dark Storm, and Port Rhuige. This cost the same as the 10, but no guarantee on its age (not everything, but it is something). I guess it rests on the taste:


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L4078CM000 01613047

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Almost a bit sour with some of the younger whisky coming out a bit too much – to me, it tastes the youngest of the regular Taliskers. I am generally not a huge fan of the new make harsh and oily sourness, but this one is integrated very nicely together to bring a large amount of complexity forward. The grain plays through a bit - certainly seems more complex than the 10 year old, but less deep. Plums, peaches, roasted peanuts, uncooked bacon, and some pretty fragile smoke and ash woven throughout. The finish is quite complex with a fruity body and smoke and the lightest spearmint. Overall, it would do a lot better for me if there was a bit more maturity to a few of the components, but this is wonderfully blended stuff nonetheless – the complexity and balance weight-for-weight of the fruit and the smoke, the sweetness and the spice is quite worthy of appreciation.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $100.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L4238CM000 05756672

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Lots of dried fruit – figs, currants, raisins – and ashy smoke. Lightly oily with young distillate driving parts of the whisky. Complex - roasted peanuts, plums, burning leaves, pickled lemons, celery, vanilla, baking soda, applesauce, and light mineral notes (I think many people might call this „salt”). The palate is full of smoke, digestive biscuits, malt, lemon, and vegetal notes. Lots of movement on the palate, and the citrus, smoke, and mineral balance is terrific. The finish is ever so slightly sour, but also with lots of smoke and vegetal notes appearing. Continues to be a great whisky.

Also, oddly, it’s gotten cheaper at the LCBO.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $90.


Review: Talisker 57 Degrees North Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
57%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Talisker (Carbost, Scotland)

A non-age-statement, but cask strength, Talisker which has a great reputation in my circle of friends. It is expensive in Ontario ($175 when you can find it) but I once found it in the Toronto airport for $75, which is where I obtained this bottle. I think they just forgot the leading "1" since I haven't seen it that cheap anywhere else - I am happy for the mistake.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L2290CM000 05954480

  • Bottling Date: ~2012

Ash, peaches, custard, slightly spicy. Wood smoke, pears, lemon, peat, mineral character – quite bright with all of the stone fruit though. Dried apricot, gooseberries, vanilla – quite zesty.

The palate is sweet, with quite a big, fairly sweet, body – particularly with water. Tinned peaches, smoke, mint, thick vegetation (i.e. peat), sharp earthiness – certainly big on the palate. It is a touch young for my liking – but it’s on the edge. Certainly an interesting contrast of all that fruitiness and the mineral peat. Oh, and it’s also reasonably creamy. Nice balance.

A drying finishes with clove, black pepper, prunes, tannins, and more mineral character. A terrific malt, but certainly overpriced – well, in Canada, I suppose, where it goes for about twice the price of the 10 Y.O.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, at $175.


Review: Talisker Distiller's Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Talisker Distiller's Edition 2.jpg
ABV
45.8%
Aging
11 Years; Ex-bourbon finished in Amaroso Sherry Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Talisker (Carbost, Scotland)

This is similar to the standard Talisker 10, but with a finishing period in Amaroso Sherry Casks - similar to Oloroso but sweeter - providing another different look at the spirit of Talisker.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L4266C2000 07011707

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Creamy almond strikes me at first - but with many other things at play: smoke (of course!), vanilla, gooseberries, white grape, sultana raisins, cooked apples, cinnamon, and the lightest touch of sherry in the background – though I’m not sure I would have noticed it if I hadn’t gone looking for it. The light tannins balance out this whisky well and provide a lot more nice structure to the whisky. A good bit of complexity and subtlety playing into the mix for this one. The finish comes out with a fair bit of creaminess which fits well into all the subtlety, yet it is still a bit dry…very nice.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $120.


Review: Talisker Dark Storm Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Talisker Dark Storm.jpg
ABV
45.8%
Aging
Heavily Charred Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Talisker (Carbost, Scotland)

This whisky, released alongside Talisker Storm, uses heavily charred casks for its maturation - not the usual choice of cask for Scotch, but rather for American Whisky.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L4197CM000 04053962

  • Bottling Date: 2014

The interplay of the peat and smoky oak is quite intriguing to me, and brings forth quite a bit of vanilla, maple, and caramel in the mix - I am not sure if I like that part. Some dried staff here - dried apricot, dried hibiscus, and some prunes. On the palate, it shows more sharpness than many Taliskers, and fairly sweet and juicy - there is one part where the ashy smoke has some wonderful wood integration, but it is still a bit flat overall with a touch of saccharin on the finish. Light creaminess comes through on the finish, with some fresh apricot, dark chocolate, and a bit of grape alongside the clove, smoke, and pepper. Not sure if maple and caramel make this “dark”….but the caramel seems to take a bigger role as the peat fades in the bottle.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $81.


Review: Talisker 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45.8%
Aging
10 Years
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Talisker (Carbost, Scotland)

A definitive smoky, Island malt - Talisker is another distillery in the Diageo portfolio, hailing from the magnificent Isle of Skye. An interesting fact - not all the whisky is matured there. While I was at Glen Ord last year, I saw a cask of Talisker maturing - Diageo distributes its casks among its distilleries so that if there is a fire, etc., not all the stock will be depleted.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L4072CM0 0 0 0159818 7

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

There is some nice peat here! I suppose that might be obvious, but there’s peat, and then there’s peat….And a good bit of creaminess as well, yet still spicy and interesting as well and what seems to be some nice bourbon cask influence. On the palate, creamy and smoky, though it is a bit flat and plain – it is missing some of the depth and complexity it usually does. The finish develops in a warming fashion, too, with apple, apricot, and the lightest drying of the mouth in the end.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $100.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L6194CM000 04970461

  • Bottling Date: 2017

The nose is marvelous. Pepper, creamy malt, dark chocolate, custard, and terrific earthiness. The palate is sweet, with apple, a light marine mineral character, spice, apricot, and terrific earthiness – and slight floral dried flower notes (these are very nice!). Old (as opposed to freshly) ground black pepper on the finish, with earthy peat, smoke, and vanilla. The finish is lightly drying, and the sweetness is perfect to balance.  Terrific - better and more vibrant than my last bottle! The cacao, smoke, earthiness, dryness, and sweetness of the finish are just brilliant.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average at $100.