Talisker Storm (2019)
Am I wrong to state that most of us take Talisker for granted? And by most of us I mean hardened, cynical, critical whisky drinkers. The low point was probably five years ago when the much maligned Talisker Skye was first introduced at the height of the NAS era. Rumours of the discontinuation of the Talisker 10 were flying around also, making things worse even though many seem to think it isn’t quite of the same high quality it once used to be.
And yet, Talisker is probably one of the most consistently great distilleries in modern history. The Talisker 10 remains one of the best entry-level single malts in the world, while the Talisker 18 is similarly good. Dive into some older expressions and you’re in for truly legendary stuff. Even modern young bottlings provide high quality.
What then, is the problem? The only thing I can think of is the collective dislike of Talisker’s range of single malts without an age statement. Not cause they’re inherently bad, but because it just doesn’t fit our (my) geeky approach to whisky. I want more information (transparency) dammit! There’s a movement spearheaded by the likes of Bruichladdich, Waterford and Compass Box, but it’ll take ages to take hold of the large conglomerates like Diageo—if it ever happens.
So, what about the Talisker Storm? The official website is not of much help. Sure, there’s a perfect serve, food pairing suggestions and glistening tasting notes but not even a sliver of information on the cask types—let alone age, barley, yeast types, fermentation length and more of that sort. Some googling learns that the Talisker Storm has matured in refill and rejuvenated casks, so that’s something at least.
Talisker Storm (45.8%, OB, 2019)
Nose: Rather fresh and bright, with a subtle but certainly noticeable coastal influence and a few whiffs of peat. Pretty fruity (banana, mango, berries) and a fair hit of vanilla also. Finally a tinge of licorice and a slight minerality. Really good.
Taste: Salty, peppery, smoky. But in moderation. Some toasted oak, nori and olive brine as well. A tinge of burnt lemon peel too. Rather oily mouthfeel, by the way.
Finish: Pepper, vanilla and a tinge of iodine. Finally some chocolate. Long.
A seriously good showing from Talisker, a distillery that despite much criticism for its many NAS offerings has a reputation to uphold. If anything, this rather cheap (it really is!) single malt lifts that reputation even higher.
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.