Talisker 8 Years (Special Releases 2020)
Fans of Talisker have been treated to three consecutive years of Special Releases. First a hugely popular 8-year-old in 2018, followed by a well-received 15-year-old last year and now another Talisker 8 Years, but this one finished in pot-still Caribbean rum casks—a first for Talisker.
But while this might be the first rum-finished Talisker, the distillery is no stranger to some cask wizardry. For example, the Talisker Port Ruighe is finished in Port wine casks, and special heavily charred casks are used to liven the Talisker Dark Storm. Most notably (and bizarrely maybe), they decided to finish a 41-year-old Talisker from their Bodega Series in Manzanilla sherry casks.
Like I’ve said before, Talisker sometimes seems to be underappreciated. We scoff at their NAS releases (the Talisker Skye has done some real damage) and seem to think the 10-year-old declined in quality. Is that fair though? I don’t think so.
Talisker 8 Years (57.9%, OB, Special Releases 2020)
Nose: A whiff of pineapple goes hand in hand with wet pebbles, seaweed and soft, earthy peat. Touches of brine, sandalwood and melted butter also. Finally some sweet cotton candy, gooseberry and even a hint of burlap. There’s quite a bit going on here.
Taste: A fair amount of pepper, soft smoke and earthy peat. Darker than the nose suggests. Some olive brine, cloves and a big pinch of salt. Finally some charred lemons. Water bring out a more medicinal side.
Finish: Quite peppery on the finish with some lingering smoke. Long.
Rum there ain’t much of, so it doesn’t live up to expectations. That said, this is a good Talisker regardless. The nose especially is entertaining while the palate is more traditional.
More Diageo Special Releases 2020
Do you want to read more of my reviews of this year’s Diageo Special Releases? I’ve compiled a neat little list below. Enjoy!
- Pittyvaich 1989 30 Years
- Dalwhinnie 1989 30 Years
- Mortlach 1999 21 Years
- The Singleton 2002 17 Years
- Cragganmore 1999 20 Years
- Cardhu 2008 11 Years
- Lagavulin 2007 11 Years
Sample provided by Diageo
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.