Rugged landscapes, narrow lochs, historic castles, green flora and a rich wild life are integral to the Isle of Skye, an island off the West Coast of Scotland. Better known is Talisker Bay or rather the distillery that takes the same name, the oldest working distillery on the island. Oddly enough, Talisker initially began producing whisky that was triple distilled and fell back to typical orthodox Scottish ways only by 1928.
Peat here is intertwined in more ways than one; from the use of peated barley, to the soft water that naturally flows over peat beds from underground springs that rise from Hawk Hill. The Talisker 10 is thereby moderately peated and matured in ex-bourbon American oak barrels for a minimum of 10 years. The whisky however does have a darker than usual hue which isn’t characteristic to refilled cask maturation, indicative of the use of E150a caramel food colouring.
ABV : 45.8%
Eye : Chestnut olorosso | Perhaps E150a Colouring
Nose : Begins with brine with hints of peat, sweet brown sugar and cream, interleaved with raisins, banana peels, red wine and green pepper.
Taste : Vanilla and fruity with berries, seaweed and subtle nuances of peat. The sweetness is quite broadly spaced throughout the palate, infused with wood and char.
Finish : Medium | Raisins, brown sugar and fruity
The Talisker 10 is smooth and delivers a rounded mouth feel, layered with maritime nuances, like that of salt, brine and seaweed and a subtle whiff of smoke that delightfully encapsulates the whisky. Coming in at a slightly higher ABV, the whisky very well reflects the tag line ‘made by the sea’. But if it were not for these flavours, I would have dismissed it to be rather mundane and borderline boring.
Standing midpoint between the Highlands and the Islay, personally I would have loved a bit more peat or a second helping of spiced notes. The 10 isn’t overly sweet but still ever present, however, this dram for some reason doesn’t tick all the boxes and hence falls short for me. But for AUD $67 at Costco on specials, it is a good buy and offers something unique from the Isle of Skye!
Preference : As is or with a few drops of water.