Talisker Wilder Seas is the latest release from the oldest Skye distillery, and the first to have been finished in French oak XO Cognac casks. Most importantly, it is an honest collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, an ocean conservation not-for-profit.
According to the press release, this is the first product collaboration between the two partners, but I’m not really sure if I agree. I vividly remember the Talisker 44 Years Forests of the Deep from last year. As part of that particular collaboration, wooden staves from Talisker whisky casks were brought aboard a research expedition to kelp forests near Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Anyway, that’s really neither here nor there.
What’s important is the £3 Talisker will be donating to Parley from every bottle made, which totals more than half a million pounds. The funds will go towards sea forests located off the coasts of Scotland, South Africa and Chile. Those numbers also give us an approximate of the volume of Talisker Wilder Seas that is released. Just a simple math equation, really. (If math isn’t your forte, divide 500,000 by 3 with a calculator.) In short, this is not a very limited edition.
The Talisker Wilder Seas is released without a carton (hooray!) and just a neck tag made from recycled paper. Furthermore, the bottle is made from 100% recycled glass, reducing the glass bottle emissions by 82%. But, all good intentions aside, the proof is in the pudding. And that’s probably also what you’re here for.
Talisker Wilder Seas (48.6%, OB, 2023)
Nose: There’s the typical coastal notes and spice elements that you expect. Brine-y, white pepper, and nori sheets. Soft, gentle wood smoke with a touch of caramel, toasted bread and brown sugar, but also subtle dates, figs and prunes. Finally just a touch of milk chocolate. Taste: Creamy, almost oily mouthfeel. Also, more chocolate, some sultanas, and a touch of campfire, but then black peppercorns and a gentle mineral note. Whispers of sweet red fruits and ripe apple. Finally a pinch of salt and some herbal peat. Finish: Medium to long and slightly dry. Just a touch of iodine, lingering pepper and soft wood smoke. Oh, and plums too.
The Talisker DNA is here in full force, but with a genteel sort of sweetness and fruitiness that I would attribute to the Cognac casks. As with every NAS Talisker it comes down to this: is the Talisker Wilder Seas better than the (much more affordable) Talisker 10? I wouldn't think so. But it's undeniably good stuff in its own right.