Come on guys ! Jump on the hype train of Diageo’s Special Release 2018. If you live on the same planet than me, you probably didn’t miss these releases, and also that a rookie called Talisker 8 pulled the cover although there are veterans in the shortlist. To set the scene, you should know I’ve been invited by Diageo to taste them all, so I will present them one by one from the youngest to the oldest.
Before plunging in my dram like it was Loch Harport (the lake you see from the Talisker distillery), let’s talk a wee moment history. Talisker, founded in 1830 in Carbost, remain the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. Like many others, they had pretty rough years and after several closings, Talisker seemed to reach cruising speed in 1925. BUT… (like in all good stories… there is a but!) someone set fire to the rain and the distillery burned in 1960… Thanks to the owner, they rebuilt it with a respect to the tradition. For example, the famous serpentine is still cooling vapors of alcohol slowly after distillation. This process is associated with Talisker typical oily texture. Adjectives like peated, maritime, spicy, peppery are often associated to this famous whisky.
Time to dive in this Talisker 8 ladies and gentlemen !
Aged 8 years in fresh ex-bourbon barrels from their American cousin Bulliet who use a mash bill with a high percentage of rye, known to bring spicy aromas. These casks were charred as hell as they reached the fourth level of charring which is the highest burnt a cask can endure.
ABV : cask strength at 59.4%
Colour : intense yellow gold
Nose : I have to say i’m surprised not being surprised, everything you hope from a Talisker is here. More than a signature, it’s a damn visit card ! Peatsmoke still warm, salted butter caramel well balanced, then the pepper bites my nostrils and the freshness arrives, mint… Oh wait ! It’s Peppermint !
Palate : Mostly like the nose, sweet and spicy, feels like bourbon casks gave all they had. The peat smoke isn’t overwhelming which is typical from Talisker and highly appreciated. the silky and rich texture is balanced by sea-spray notes. Vanilla hints mixed with black pepper.
Finish : After the sweet&spicy wave, sea salt, liquorice and menthol freshness appears. Seems like breathing deeply in front of the Loch Harport during a windy day.
Comments : Obviously it keeps its promise. There is no big surprises but the complexity at this young age. The fact it is a cask strength is fundamental. All the intensity would fade away if diluted. Don’t call me “Captain Obvious” for saying that… because I really think it matters to that one especially.