Please don’t immediately roll your eyes when I tell you that the Talisker 44 Years Forests of the Deep – the oldest official Talisker ever bottled – was finished in marine casks. Because let’s be honest, if a smaller independent distillery like Ardnamurchan had done this, you’d have loved it.
Okay, so, now that we’ve got that out of the way, what in the hell are marine casks? They’re the result of a partnership with Parley for the Oceans, an ocean conservation not-for-profit. As part of the collaboration wooden staves from Talisker whisky casks were brought aboard a research expedition to kelp forests near Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
When the staves were returned to Talisker afterwards, they were reconstructed and toasted with dried seaweed smoke. These casks were then used to finish certifiably rare Talisker, presumably from the same range of casks that has been used for other recent old Talisker. It had already spent well over four decades in ex-bourbon casks, but received a final treatment of just a few months inside these marine casks.
Only 1,997 bottles of the Talisker 44 Years Forests of the Deep were released globally for £3,800 per bottle.
Talisker 44 Years Forests of the Deep (49.1%, OB, 2022)
Nose: Somewhat austere but with gentle wood smoke, wet wool, velvety wax and mineral notes too, but also juicy stone fruits, lychee and orange zest. Finally some white pepper, hazelnuts and hemp rope. Extremely well integrated. Taste: A waxy, almost oily mouthfeel with plenty of salty, pepper-y maritime notes accumulated by seaweed, iodine and damp drift wood. Also salted liquorice, a hint of tar and gentle medicinal peat. But also soft notes of crème caramel, rum-soaked raisins and stewed fruits to give it some more depth and sweetness. Finish: Long with lingering notes of breakfast tea, ashes and salt. Delicious.
It's vibrant and coastal, but with a depth, richness and complexity you only find in these long-aged single malts. A throwback whisky worthy of the Talisker brand. And certainly a treat to taste, (although I can't really separate the influence of the marine casks). Even for as privileged and spoiled a whisky drinker as I am, drinking 1970s Talisker is a rarity. Thanks to Herman for sharing!