Well, it’s about time that I finally get back to posting! I do have a valid excuse, though. You see, Texas summers are very long, very hot, and this year, extra humid. And now that I am teaching golf, I spent most of those very long, hot, humid days standing outside in the ridiculous heat teaching summer camps, working with the kids in the Academy and with various lessons. By the time I got home, I was worn out and not overly keen to do much more than put my feet up and drink lots of water, trying to recuperate and get ready for the following day. I don’t know how all the people who work outside all day and actually do physical work survive!
Now, despite my bitching about the hot, hot summer, I did manage to enjoy a few good whiskies, to go to a few of Trinity Hall’s monthly tastings and, of course, hold our regular Newcomers Whisky Club meetings. But I just didn’t have much time (or desire, if I’m being totally honest) to sit down in front of the computer to put together any NWC posts. But now, with the return of cooler weather, it is time to get re-engaged! So, on with the show!
And we’ll start with the Talisker 10 year old, a single malt whisky from the only distillery on the Isle of Skye.
Talisker. Just say that out loud a time or two. For me, along with Cragganmore, the name Talisker just conjures up images of illicit stills and rugged, wild Scotland. And, along with Bruichladdich, Talisker is among my absolute favorite distilleries. I always have Talisker on a shelf in the Whisky Closet. The Talisker 10 year old is bright, peaty and exciting. The 18 year old is a beautiful blend of delicate fruits, earthly elements, a subtle peatiness. The 25 year old is a remarkable whisky: refined, softly peaty, and elegant.
Review: Talisker 10 year old, Official Bottling, Bottled 2012, Stamp: L2023CM000 00439534
Color: Copper. Amber-gold (e150a added color)
Nose: (Neat) Peat, salt and spices. With a few minutes, some floral notes and honey. A whiff of sea spray. This is both big and bold, yet has these nice delicate notes as well. Some sweet honey. Interestingly, the nose drops off suddenly after a couple of minutes, but, thankfully, returns and after 10 minutes the smoke returns full-force to the front – a beautiful memory of a backyard fire. Lemon pledge. Hints of dried fruits. A note of brine. Warmed cashews. Cinnamon, menthol zest, toffee, lemon, apples, sweet peat, and a dash of vanilla, all supported by an elegant smokiness. A sniff of tar, like from a recently re-paved parking lot. Smoke remains, but grows more subdued as time passes. Some grasses or heather? A couple drops of water brings out more peat and smoke, yet keeps a slightly sweet background. Then a little caramel sweetness picks up.
Taste: Nicely oily and very “chewy,” with a gradual warming that leads to a perfect, spicy temperature. Becomes increasingly smoky. There is more pepper on the palate than on the nose, along with a slight citrus honey. There is a rich malty base and some soot at the end. Crisp, fresh flavors of honey softness, a lemon tang, and a pinch of salt and then pepper, easing into a smoky, sooty, drying finish.
Finish: Dried fruits and brine, a soft honey leading to a smoky, slightly peppery, malty, and subtle dry finish.
Overall: An excellent, expressive dram, and right in my wheelhouse! Sweet without being ‘excessive’ and peaty, without being one-dimensional; this has a wonderful mix of flavors and balance. This is another one not to rush through to pick up the variety it presents. For me, the nose is slightly better than the palate, but that’s just splitting hairs.
Region: Islands (Skye)
Type: Single Malt
Maturation: Not disclosed; likely a combination of both ex-Bourbon and ex-sherry casks.
Price: $61.99 Total Wine ($49.99 in 2012 when I bought this bottle)
Availability: Currently available at most retail shops
Sample Source: My own bottle