Talisker 18 years

"It doesn't have the zingy peppery smoke of the 10-year-old, in stead it is a gentle middle aged whisky that knowns its ways to please you senses, and a great pleasure to drink"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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The 10-year-old version of Talisker has so far been one of my favourite whiskies (and subject of review #100). So when I noticed a while ago that the 18-year-old version of Talisker was on offering with a €20 reduction, it took only a short moment of contemplation before quickly placing the order. The reviews on the 18-year-old Talisker that I have read gave a very positive image of this bottling, although the comparison with the Taliskers of yesteryear keeps coming up in many online discussions. The price is tripled compared to the 10-year-old (well, we have seen worse) and I was very eager to see if that the extra ageing was worth the price difference.

One of features that I love so much about the Talisker is the fresh coastalness. Some might be tempted to relate this to the sea wind that reaches the casks in sea shored warehouses. Well, no. Unfortunately, Talisker’s spirit is matured in warehouses deep into the Scottish mainland. An interesting theory that I read here is that it is actually the peat, which absorbs the rains and winds from the sea, that is giving the whisky its coastal influence. Probably sounds even more logical. Anyway, Peat or not, it is time to evaluate this 18-year-old rascal.

Nose

Whispering smoke, brine and something sweet, which after some time start to develop into a light breeze that carrying many subtle smells. Smoked raisins, salty crackers with honey, freshly caught shrimps with a hint of garlic, walnuts, fudge, natural vanilla, leather and some freshly painted wood. Add to that some wet wood, wet coats, lobster, salted fish, and indeed that grilled salmon, and I have a feeling that I am sitting on the terrace of a small fish restaurant in the harbour of Portree. A smouldering fire pit close-by, and a fruit salad of raisins, grapefruit and oranges on the table. Oh, please bring me there!?

Taste

A gentle mix of smoke, salt, sweetness and spices. White peppercorns on salty crackers, a pinch of nutmeg, smoked raisins, smoked seaweed, walnuts, grilled crab. Couldn’t that be a new dish in that restaurant I was talking about? A burlap sack, wet wood, smoked grasses, wet paper, mud, along with bonfire smoke. No water needed.

Overall

I find this absolutely fine. It doesn’t have the zingy peppery smoke of the 10-year-old, in stead it is a gentle middle aged whisky that knowns its ways to please you senses. Great balance, profound complexity and a great pleasure to drink.

What others say

Whiskybase: 87.77 (15 votes) * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 89/100 * @Scotchnoob: Must try * @AllThingsWhisky: 93/100
Read for yourself

A bottle of this was purchased from

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
45%
Peat/smoke
45%
Nose 88.5%
Taste 89%
Balance 88.5%
Depth 88.5%
Finish 88%
Score