Rumour Mill: Talisker 10 Replaced By The Skye?
Rumour Mill is a section in which I’ll occasionally write about persistent rumours in the whisky industry. Rumours that either can’t or won’t be confirmed by the distillery or company they concern, but are still substantial enough to be mentioned and discussed. Today’s rumour: Talisker 10 will be replaced by the Talisker Skye.
Earlier this year Diageo announced the launch of a new Talisker-expression, the Skye. It is far from the first NAS-expression in the Talisker range. The Storm, Dark Storm and 57° North have been around for some time now. But contrary to the three aforementioned expressions, the Skye looks as if it could be the new entry-level Talisker. And what does that mean for the iconic Talisker 10?
Ever since the news of the Talisker Skye (and probably some time before that too), fans of the 10yo have been asking that same question. Subsequently, rumours of the discontinuation of the Talisker 10 have become very persistent. Up until not too long ago, I’ve been dismissing them as nonsense. Traditonal alarmist behavior. But now I’m starting to have doubts myself.
Is there any proof?
One person posts something in a Facebook-group, and a rumour is started. It really doesn’t take much. Especially when, in the case of the Talisker 10, it seems a very plausible possibility. But is there actually any proof that the Talisker 10 will disappear from the shelves of liquor stores?
Recently I was in a conversation with someone who works at a specialist shop, and the Talisker 10 came up. Much to my surprise, he was very adamant. According to him it wasn’t a question of whether the Talisker 10 will be discontinued, but when it will happen. His source? A Diageo-representative. What the …?!
Next step: I contacted owners of (prominent) specialist shops. All of them in The Netherlands mind you. So far I’ve talked to three different sources (not counting the one from the previous paragraph), all of them confirming that they too have been told by representatives from Diageo that the Talisker 10 will be discontinued in the near future.
Now this is still circumstantial evidence if you ask me. But there’s a saying: where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And in this case, I feel like there is a lot of smoke.
So what does Diageo say when I tell them the above? Here is the complete response:
“Talisker is a hugely successful Single Malt and in recent years has seen net sales growth of around 30% per annum globally. Given our responsibility to carefully manage our inventory so as to be able to satisfy demand in future years, we will naturally need to be cautious over how much 10 year old we can release each year. Going forward, it is likely that the 10 year old Talisker will increasingly be available in specialist drinks and whisky stores, rather than in the grocery segment.”
Discontinued? No. Limited distribution and volume? Yes. How limited? No idea. The Laddie Ten is technically not discontinued, but might as well be because it is only available at the Bruichladdich distillery. Now I don’t believe that Diageo will scale back production of the Talisker 10 as much as Bruichladdich has done with their Laddie. But availability of the Talisker 10 will be more limited, that’s for sure.
I’m not sure what to think. There’s no way that I can definitively conclude that the Talisker 10 will disappear. I know a lot of people are convinced that this will happen in the near future, but the hard evidence simply isn’t there.
It still leaves the issue of the four different specialist shops, all of them told by Diageo-representatives that the Talisker 10 will disappear. I’m not sure what to think of it. If you’re willing to ask around in your own country (importers, shop owners, industry professionals) and let me know what your findings are, than that would be great.
In the meantime, let’s simply enjoy the Talisker 10.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.