I’ve always been fond of Talisker. A Lovely, characterful malt from the Isle of Skye, I particularly like their 10 year old expression, over and above their older expressions which I feel lose that unique character. Some time ago I attended a Talisker tasting with a brand rep from Diageo’s importer here, and they had brought along a bottle of Talisker new make, mainly just to show what unaged whisky looks like. After some chatting and mild pestering they poured me some of the new make and I found it fantastic. Full of huge smoky character.
I became kind of obsessed with finding that flavour again, but sadly Talisker new make is hard to find outside of the Isle of Skye (and they’re probably not too generous with it there either), but I did see this bottling at some point. Not only an independently bottled Talisker ( this one under Douglas Laing’s Provenance label), a rare thing as is, but one boldly stating “Young & Feisty” on the label. I really hoped that this would share some of the massive flavour I found in the new make. I got it towards the end of last Winter and have been hanging onto it until things got cold again, now is the time.
One thing I like about these Douglas Laing labels is the amount of information presented to me. I know I’m drinking a whisky from a batch made up of two casks, I know which casks those are, I even know that it’s made from spirit distilled in the Winter. But that I do not know is how long the spirit was aged, just that it’s “Young”. I really don’t see the point of not putting the age on the label here. I get (but don’t agree with) the industry argument for non-age statement whisky in that if people see a young age statement they automatically and erroneously assume that the whisky is not good. But this is an independent bottling, of a whisky with a cult following, and it bloody says “Young and Feisty” on the damn box! I doubt the kind of person buying this whisky in the first place will be put off by seeing the age.
But to their credit Douglas Laing have always been very easy to talk to and open to answering all of my whisky geek questions, so I shot them an email asking about the age of the casks and very quickly received a direct reply that the casks were both aged 5 years. This is always appreciated, as I’ve often emailed other companies with questions like these and the vast majority reply with canned answers, or beating around the bush or just no reply at all.
Aged 3 years* . 46% ABV. Matured in 2 refill hogsheads numbered 10227 and 10229. No colourant added and non-chill filtered.
*Age of the two casks is 5 years, as was readily disclosed to me by Douglas Laing.
Nose: Quite closed at first. Wet stone. Light wood smoke. Ozone. Crisp Asian pear. Sea breeze. Slight floral note. Burned orange peel.
Palate: Nicely oily. Straw. Grassy peat. Smoked meats. Cut slate. Lemon candies. Brine. Truffle oil.
Finish: Long. Huge brine note at first. Sweet grassy notes. Grass smoke. Lemon lozenges.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
Well this wasn’t quite as close to the new make I tried as I’d hoped, but it was a damn good ram all the same. Very little (like none) wood influence here so it’s really just the spirit talking and it has a lot of inherently good character to it. I only wish that this had been bottled at cask strength, then it’d be something truly fantastic.