"A first time experience always remains special! Astounding balance, the fiery smoke and bold spices definitely stay in check and do not overpower"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
More than 13 years ago, my adventure to explore the world of whisky started with the purchase of my first bottle of whisky, a 10-year-old Talisker. Since this was a new world to me, I simply chose a bottle which packaging and description intrigued me. Walking proudly back home with my conquest, I could never have suspected that more than a decade later I would (still) feel this passionate about the Scottish gold. Therefore, I thought it would be very appropriate to make this origin of my passion the subject of my 100th review. Well, my first steps with the 10-year-old Talisker were indeed adventurous, as I found it a heavy flavoured dram back then. However, as is often said: “You need to learn to appreciate it“, and indeed my taste buds have evolved over the past decade, during which I have encountered the bottom of a bottle of 10-year-old Talisker more than once. Although my taste might have evolved over time, my overall impression has always remained the same. This whisky is stormy, which supposedly reflects the nature of the Isle of Skye, but beautifully balanced. A first time experience always remains special, and this stormy Island dram is still one of my favourites. Anyway, here follows a more in depth evaluation of my timely sensorial observations.
Directly, I encounter fresh salt and salty fudge, then freshly sawn pinewood. The peat starts to develop in a clear way but also kinda mellow, as if it is slowly but decisively filling my nose. What follows can best be described as earthy, in fact, the wet earth you smell on an autumn morning with damp rising from the ground. In combination with a fresh-lit wood fire, fresh tobacco and cigars. Before the smoke can overwhelm you, a fresh and sweet fruitiness calmly appears with fresh pears, sweet apples, sugared citrus and grapefruit. Water particularly unlocks the fruitiness. In addition, a slightly acidic backbone is present, think of unripe banana, just opened orange parts, orange jam, ginger jam, and marmalade. In between these smoky and fruity flanks, threads of sweet spice are spun. Spiced honey and spiced fruit, a peculiar black-peppered sweetness, and some salty cashew nuts. Everything appears beautifully orchestrated.
The moment the liquid rolls onto your tongue, you become aware of the smoke that gives a prickling and spicy sensation, in particular cracking black pepper and a teaspoon of nutmeg. After the first waves, the smoke is enriched with notes of leather, wax, furnished wood, along with some some medicinal tones. When the smoke recedes, fruity flavours come forward with poached pears, fresh apples, lime skin, sweet citrus, and prickling Fanta. The smoke reappears with additional notes, like fresh earth, champignons, cardboard, and becomes slightly dusty. The full balance is enhanced with notes of honey, toffee and nuts. In the long finish the smokiness goes for a full return, embracing the smooth fruity flavours.
The first thing that comes to mind is the astounding balance that is accomplished. The fiery smoke and bold spices definitely stay in check and do not overpower. In stead the room these two leave is filled with beautiful aromatic flavours that balance the whole with their freshness. The mix of flavours develop beautifully in the glass and on the tongue, and remain entangled far into the finish. The only slightly negative point for me would be the caramel colouring. The price, however, is a give-away for the quality that is delivered. All in all, a whisky worthy of a place in the collection of any whisky aficionado!
A bottle of this was purchased from
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •