This is a ballsy release, as it is both very young, and it has matured in refill cask. Judging by the colour, this is a spirit driven Talisker, rather than one dominated by the wood. And that’s surprising, considering that most young whisky released nowadays is very much wood forward.
I’m always happy to encounter whiskies like these, as it gives you a chance to further evaluate the actual house style of a distillery. The goal should never be to create a new make that can stand up on its own. Maturation is always paramount. However, a spirit should never need to rely on wood for all of its character.
All of the best distilleries have their own distinct style. Think of Springbank, Lagavulin, Bowmore, Benromach or Old Pulteney. Or even Ben Nevis, Clynelish and Mortlach. Talisker is one of those distilleries as well, although you might forget it in the onslaught of young flavour-led (ugh…) official releases.
That’s why it is so refreshing to find a release like this 8-year-old Talisker from Douglas Laing, which has matured in refill ex-bourbon hogshead. Let’s taste!
Talisker 8 Years Old Coastal Collection (48%, Douglas Laing’s Provenance, C#12611)
Nose: Soft citrus and vanilla go hand in hand with a salty sea spray and soft smoke from a smouldering bonfire. Slightly malty too, with a hint of white pepper.
Taste: Proper salty stuff, with hints of vanilla, as well as honeysuckle and fudge. Soft touches of smoke and charcoal, a whisper of tar, and a whiff of cardamom and pepper.
Finish: Lingering smoke and salt.
Lovely clean and impressive young Talisker. Like, seriously good.
Sample provided by Douglas Laing
Photo: Master of Malt