Talisker 10 years old

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Talisker_10YO.jpg

Established in 1830, Talisker distillery is located on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebridean Scottish Isles. Owned by the global drinks conglomerate, Diageo, Talisker is a featured player in their "Classic Malts of Scotland" collection as it represents the somewhat amorphous "islands" whisky-making region. "Made by the sea," Talisker is well-known and loved the world over for it's balance of peppery sweetness and peat smoke. The 10 year old expression is bottled at 45.8% ABV and commonly appears on the whisky lists of bars, restaurants and lounges the world over. 

It's worth remembering that ubiquity does not always mean boring or dull flavours in the whisky world. Sometimes, when a product is well-crafted, it's common availability is reflective of the universal human demand for greatness. It was this impulse that guided my hand when perusing the shelves at the Gothenburg Systembolaget, the Swedish liquor commission, to select a gift box trio from the "Classic Malts of Scotland" collection that contained Caol Ila 12 year old, Clynelish 14 year old and Talisker 10 year old. With this selection I was looking for not only a great deal, but also to get re-acquainted with whiskies that I'd loved before.

Upon my return, I poured a healthy dram of Talisker and then fired up the blog to compare my current tasting notes with what we wrote about it only to be confronted with a "No results found" message. Perhaps, I'd mispelled it...again, no results. I had it right the first time; somehow we'd overlooked this benchmark bottle in our reviews. A blindspot, no doubt, that I shall now remedy.  

Nose: Strongly scented of mossy peat smoke underpinned by a light malty sweetness with dried fruits. 


Palate: Medium to full-bodied and redolent with smoke and old leather. Creamy malt flavours are wrapped in vanilla, a tinge of brine and a liberal dash of white pepper. 

Finish: Long and chewy with a peppery spice that eventually settles into a mouth-watering salty sourness wrapped in vanilla-toned smoke. 

Overall: A beautiful balance of sweetness and smoke that plays out from start to finish. Newcomers to peat and smoke will likely find Talisker 10 year old more approachable than the medicinal and briney peat found in single malts from Islay. On the other hand, whisky drinkers with an affinity for Islay will enjoy luxuriating in the dram's throat-filling smokiness and seemingly endless finish. It's such a crowd favourite that it's nearly always in stock and nearly every year gets bumped up a little more in price...This bottle deserves a place on your shelf even at the $99.95 that it's currently priced in the LCBO. 


3 Comments

Ryan, I couldn't agree more. Talisker is an old friend that I never tire of and always go back to. Interesting that you had assumed that Scotchblog had reviewed it when it hadn't been - maybe you all should consider doing some reviews of standard bottlings that are (relatively) inexpensive yet widely available? You usually review bottlings that can be easily had in Ontario, but I myself find going back to the basics very instructive.

Thank you for a great review! I enjoy comparing Talisker's lighter peatiness to Lagavulin 16.

I appreciate your "brine" and "salty" descriptions. I visited the distillery last summer and took a cold plunge into the water off of a beach on the Isle of Skye. The cold, salty waves slapping my face and lips were like Talisker splashing on my tongue!

John, I can't say that I'd recommend a dip in the North Atlantic but I admire your courage! :) Thanks for the feedback.

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  • Ryan commented on Talisker 10 years old:

    John, I can't say that I'd recommend a dip in the North Atlantic but I admire your courage! :) Thanks for the feedback.

  • John commented on Talisker 10 years old:

    Thank you for a great review! I enjoy comparing Talisker's lighter peatiness to Lagavulin 16.

    I appreciate your "brine" and "salty" descriptions. I visited the distillery last summer and took a cold plunge into the water off of a beach on the Isle of Skye. The cold, salty waves slapping my face and lips were like Talisker splashing on my tongue!

  • Tom Alexander commented on Talisker 10 years old:

    Ryan, I couldn't agree more. Talisker is an old friend that I never tire of and always go back to. Interesting that you had assumed that Scotchblog had reviewed it when it hadn't been - maybe you all should consider doing some reviews of standard bottlings that are (relatively) inexpensive yet widely available? You usually review bottlings that can be easily had in Ontario, but I myself find going back to the basics very instructive.

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