Talisker 8 years

"A great bottling, not that we expected anything else, and it could be a great addition to their standard range in my opinion"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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We do not see too many new releases coming from Talisker distillery, and when we do it either leads to excitation or a large deal of agitation among fans. The  release of Talisker’s Neist Point and Skye both divided opinions of whisky enthusiasts with a large portion saying that these lacked the quality that is associated with this distillery. In addition, new versions of the 10 and 18 years have also become somewhat controversial due to a apparent decrease in quality, although I personally think that these are still way above most similarly priced releases from other distilleries. Last year saw the premiere of Talisker within Diageo’s annual special releases with an 8-year version at cask strength. In contrast to the aforementioned releases, this one instigated a surprisingly positive vibe due to the praise that it received from many whisky bloggers, accompanied by a score way above 87 on Whiskybase. The bottles sold out within no time, as we can expect for such releases nowadays, so I grabbed the opportunity when I got the chance to taste a sample of this.

Nose

Some smoke from smouldering wood fires intermingled with the expected coastal influences. All with a sweet undercurrent, which suggest that the bourbon casks have had their influence. I get some smoked chicken soup, smoked ham sandwiches, persil and dragon. It is pungent and balanced, while the high alcohol does not feel like an obstacle to me. Not even sure if I need to add water. There are hints of tar, several herbal oils, hints of dill, oranges covered in mint, papaya, a hint of olive oil. The minerals, in particular calcium, and sea spray, make it incredibly fresh without any harshness at all. I mean, you can tell it is young, but it already shows lots of grace and depth. I finally decide to add a few drops of water, but I find that this suppresses the nose. Another drop of undiluted spirit brings more of the intense scents. I now also get a slightly metallic, or maybe chemical solvent-y kind of smell. More roots, tinned peaches, and some sort of herbal  liquor. Could it be gentian, maybe but I never had some, so that remains a guess. I do get some mint liquor.

Taste

From the first moment there is a good balance with a large bowl of fruits that include peaches, oranges, maybe more towards orange peel, a hint of lemon rant, all mixed into a splash of sea water. The palate displays more the salty side, and again it feels very herbal (dill, dragon, persil). Dry wood, tinned peaches, a hint of cooked fennel, and quite starchy (risotto). I would say this is very well blended. Again not sure if I should add some water. Let’s try and see. Well, no improvement  really. It even gets slightly sharper and feel more immature. A fresh splash of undiluted spirit then. It is indeed surprisingly faintly peated, and feels fairly fat. Some olives, mud, beach sand, and a long and sooth-y aftertaste which focusses on the muddy, roots-y side. More vegetables like celery and carrots. I shortly compared it with the 10-year-old, which brings more ozon and sherry, instead of sweeter bourbon influence, and less roots.

Overall

Very good bottling. Apparently, Talisker goes very well in first-fill bourbon casks. Not that we expected something else, mind you. If I may have a little bit of criticism, it might be a bit too sweet for me after a few times. But still, I think this would be a great addition to their standard range. Could be an idea for next year, right?

What others say

Whiskybase: 87.879 (276 votes) * Serge Valentin & Angus MacRaild @Whiskyfun: 91/100 * @Whiskynotes: 87/100 * @Malt-Review: 8/10 * @Scotchnoob: Must try
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for the sample!

Scores

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

Cask influence
40%
Peat/smoke
50%
  • Fruits
  • Seaside
  • Roots
Nose 87.5%
Taste 87%
Balance 88%
Depth 88.5%
Finish 88%
Score