This is the third in a series of six reviews. For the previous installment, click here.
The distilleries involved in the Distiller's Edition program are what Diageo refers to as The Six Classic Malts and are comprised of Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie, Lagavulin, Oban, and Talisker. Each takes part in the DE program. Today, we’ll explore the 2023 Talisker Distiller’s Edition.
"From the rugged western shores of the Isle of Skye comes a richly flavored, maritime malt, with a warming afterglow. So easy to enjoy, yet like Skye itself, so hard to leave." - Diageo
Talisker was founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill on the Isle of Skye. Kenneth passed away in 1854, with his share passed to Hugh, who died in 1863. The distillery was inherited by son-in-law Donald MacLennan. Unfortunately, Donald became insolvent, and all his assets, including the distillery, were confiscated.
But wait, there’s more. In 1968, J.R.W. Anderson assumed control. He was arrested and charged with fraud and subsequently had to declare bankruptcy and lost everything, including, you guessed it, the distillery.
Talisker was acquired by a partnership of lawyer Alexander Grigor Allan, wine and spirit merchant Roderick Kemp, and the owners of the Glenlossie Distillery. Together, they retrofitted and upgraded the distillery. Then, in 1889 a fire destroyed Talisker’s grain stores. The partnership dissolved in 1892.
In 1898, assets were purchased by Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd., which, in turn, went to a partnership of John Dewar & Sons Ltd., James Buchanan & Company Ltd., The Distillers Company Limited, and John Walker & Sons Ltd. In 1925, the partnership simply became The Distillers Company Limited. The distillery was then shut in 1941 due to World War II.
Talisker reopened in 1945 and remained productive until a fire in 1960 destroyed it. The owners quickly rebuilt, going as far as to duplicate the original stills, and then resumed production in 1962. It has continued operations since.
Talisker's flagship single malt Scotch is Talisker 10. The Distiller’s Edition utilizes Amoroso-seasoned American oak casks for the finishing process. Amoroso is created by blending Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherries. Packaged at 45.8% ABV (91.6°), the Distiller’s Edition has a suggested price of $85.00.
Before I #DrinkCurious, I must thank Diageo for providing me with a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it.
Appearance: I poured this Scotch into my Glencairn glass to sip neat. The bronze whisky formed a thicker rim that produced quick, straight legs.
Nose: The smell of the ocean blended with peat that reminded me of a beach barbeque. Pineapple, orange citrus, raisin, and nuts followed. When I inhaled through my mouth, I found rich vanilla and a kiss of smoke.
Palate: The texture was thin and slightly oily. Initially, I tasted cocoa powder, vanilla cream, and bananas. I encountered salted pineapple, golden raisins, and green apples as the liquid moved to the middle of my palate. The back was typical Talisker with black pepper and smoky oak, joined by roasted almonds.
Finish: Salted pineapple, smoky oak, and cocoa powder remained in my mouth, but out of nowhere came a heavy punch of caramel. The peat was somewhat muted. Overall, it was a longer duration.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I’m a fan of Talisker 10; I always have been. And, as much as I enjoy that, I believe the Distiller’s Edition eclipsed it. I love PX influences, and the nutty Oloroso added an exciting aspect to my tasting experience. The addition took a great whisky and made it even better. I’d buy this one all day long, and as such, it snags my Bottle rating.
Now, just for fun (and because I have a bottle of it on hand), I wanted to experience how the DE differed from the standard 10-Year. Below is from my 2021 review, and I didn’t find anything I’d revise.
Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Talisker 10 presented as brassy in color. It created a medium rim but heavy, thick legs that crashed back into the pool.
Nose: While I allowed the whisky to rest, its sweet, peaty aroma left the glass. Peat was joined with seaweed, brine, a faint astringent, raisin, citrus, nutmeg, and vanilla. As I inhaled the vapor into my mouth, it was malty.
Palate: The mouthfeel was oily and medium-bodied. On the front, the sweet peat married honey, vanilla, and milk chocolate. Mid-palate turned fruity with apples, pears, and green grapes. That was joined by malt. The back consisted of charred oak, black pepper, and saline.
Finish: The long finish featured clove, black pepper, smoke, brine, and vanilla. There was no burning sensation to speak of, making it easy to pick out the notes.
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.