Talisker 1978 41 Years Bodega Series (2019)
Talisker could very well be my favourite distillery. It isn’t, just to be clear. But based on past experience, it sure has that potential. I really like the Talisker 18, and there’s been a few oldies that were absolutely unbelievable.
The younger ones don’t really do it for me though. And since independently bottled Talisker is extremely rare, there aren’t many chances to taste anything over 10 years old. That is, unless there’s a very generous Diageo ambassador willing to share a sample of a new exclusive release. Which is how I got to taste this Talisker 41 Years from the Bodega Series. Thanks so much, Herman!
This whisky matured in refill American oak casks and was finished in six manzanilla Sherry casks from the Delgado Zuleta bodega. It is part of the Bodega Series, which was kicked off last year with a 40-year old release. The oldest Talisker released so far, it will probably be eclipsed in age by the last and final chapter of the Bodega Series, expected next year.
Talisker 1978 41 Years Bodega Series (50.7%, OB, 2000 bts.)
Nose: Elegant and gracious doesn’t even begin to describe this. Notes of camphor and bung cloth, with a whiff of earthy bog myrtle and brine. There’s just a touch of menthol, leather, old books and tobacco leaves. However, it does have a sweeter and somewhat fruitier side as well. There’s some almond paste, apricots and sultanas for instance. Couldn’t have asked for much more.
Taste: Soft notes of peat, tobacco and menthol, as well as paraffin wax. A touch of smoke, pepper and salt too, joined by gentle notes of beeswax, baked bananas, burnt toast and coffee beans, and even some liquorice.
Finish: Lingering pepper with notes of eucalyptus. Long.
Undoubtedly a fantastic whisky that ticks a lot of boxes. Complex, subtle, balanced, mature, elegant. I would’ve loved a little more fruitiness, but I guess I can’t have it all.
Sample provided by Diageo
Photo: The Whisky Exchange
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.