Talisker 10 Year Old Single Malt Review
My journey through the world of peated wonderment didn't begin terribly auspiciously. After years of drinking bourbon and Irish blends and malts, when I tried my first peated whisky (which happened to be Laphroaig 10 year old - not a starting point I'd recommend to the uninitiated) I couldn't help but think I was drinking coloured bog water through a turf straw. My palate nor mind were ready for such a visceral assault of the senses. Needless to say after that experience, my main thought when even sensing the possibility of coming into contact with peated whisky was to run to the hills!
Eventually I was coerced into dabbling with the black arts of peat once more and Talisker 10 year old was the dram of choice. This turned out to be a turning point for me. I remember it having a sweet minerality with a hint of peat gently caressing the palate rather than the sledgehammer attack of the Laphroaig. Now that I knew that not every peated whisky was a veritable peat monster I was intrigued! What other peaty whisky goodness was I missing out on? The course was set for me to explore the mysterious charms of the peated world.
Talisker is found on the Isle of Skye off Scotland's West Coast. Talisker used to be the only working distillery on Skye, but that changed as of January this year when Torabhaig Distillery began spirit production.
The distillery has an output of around 2.7 million litres of spirit per year and it is considered a medium peated whisky. The barley used for the new make has a phenol content of around 18-20 ppm which means that the new make spirits phenol content is around 5-7 ppm. This makes Talisker a much more approachable whisky than some of its Islay cousins. Talisker also has a relatively long fermentation time of between 65 - 75 hours allowing more ester production in the new make spirit thereby producing more fruit notes.
As is obvious we have an age statement of 10 years, it has been bottled at 45.8% abv and it has more than likely been chill filtered and coloured slightly. It retails around £35-38 per bottle.
Malt, wet fishing nets, mineral & tar notes, honey, vanilla, pear & salted caramel
Honey sweet, ice cream wafers, oily in the mouth, hint of iodine then fruit & malt with a plume of hickory smoke.
A long, perfectly balanced interplay of sweet & smoke with a salty savoury finish.
Talisker 10 is a classic for a reason - its excellent! Its a beautifully balanced dram which calls you back time and again to reacquaint yourself with its charms. For its price it is outstanding and I rarely go without a bottle in my bunker. In fact if this was my desert island dram I would be delighted, I just never get tired of it.
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