After our tour of Talisker distillery with manager Stuart Harrington, he couldn’t possibly leave without letting us taste a few drams. Stuart was kind enough to crack open the good stuff and here’s my thoughts on the three drams:
Talisker 57° North – 57% ABV
A solid performer for the distillery in recent years, 57° North is named after the line of latitude which the Isle of Skye sits on. With an ABV of 57%, you’d expect a bit of a slap around the face, but the nose on this is clean, with a light smoke to it. The sour citrus is there, with Talisker’s signature salty sea spray coming through too. The palate is explosive, with the whisky’s chili-pepper hallmark flavour coating the palate. With sweet citrus keeps punching its way through, with plenty of dry wood.
Talisker 25 Year Old
This was Stuart’s favourite dram, although I’m guessing his manager’s discount knocks a decent amount off the £200+ price tag! Released in 2001, this has been bottled as Talisker’s traditional strength of 45.8%. The nose of this is much closer to what you’d expect from Talisker – hot black pepper, woodsmoke and iodine, with a whiff of caramel sweetness. The palate is extremely smooth, with the caramel morphing into salted caramel, with a bit of chocolate too. Less of the fresh citrus this time.
Talisker Distillery Bottling
The distillery bottling is a semi-regular occurrence amongst Diageo’s distilleries, which can only be bought by visiting the distillery itself. This release, which comprises 8,000 bottles, had only just hit the shelves, so Stuart was tasting it for the first time too. The nose on this is much lighter than normal, with the fruit, especially orange, taking centre stage. The caramel is there again though and transfers onto the palate. Then it’s pepper, pepper, pepper, with a touch of woodsmoke. The orange returns right at the back of the palate, with a robust burst!
If I had to plump for one of the three, it would likely be the 57° North – it’s distinctly Talisker but with a lot more fruit coming through. Best of all, you can also pick up a bottle of this for around £60, which is an absolute bargain for a cask strength whisky.