Talisker 18 (2007 Release)

Talisker 18, 2007 ReleaseI purchased the bottle of Talisker 18 that this came from when I first moved to Minnesota in 2007. At the time it was available for $49.99 at a store in Minneapolis that was well-known for very low prices on a surprisingly decent selection of whisky. (Alas, in recent years that selection has shrunk and the prices have risen.) At the time I didn’t pay any attention to the doings of the industry or to prices in general and so failed to stock up big time. By the time I finished the last of the bottles I’d bought (this one) the Talisker 18 had become scarcer and its price had risen quite sharply (close to $80 in most markets). And then a couple of years ago Diageo dropped the boom on us by raising the price even more dramatically ($140 in most markets). As to whether this was due to dwindling older stock and/or because they want to premiumize 18 yo whisky (a la Macallan) while releasing more NAS whisky at prices that seem comparatively much cheaper but are much higher than they should be (see the new Storm, Dark Storm and Port Ruighe) I don’t know but I suspect the latter. At any rate, as much as I like the Talisker 18 I’m not about to pay $140 for it, and so I’m pleased to see recent signs that the price may be dropping (a sign possibly that lots of other consumers feel the same way).

Anyway, this is a sample from a bottle from a more innocent time. (Though if you look around online you’ll see people complaining about changes in Talisker even back in 2007.)

Talisker 18 (45.8%, 2007 release; from a reference sample saved from my own bottle)

Nose: A bit of salt, a touch of gunpowder and a lot of apricot. Orange peel below the apricot and some honey too. Below all of that lurks some pepper and a bit of minerally peat. The peat expands as it sits (nothing phenolic though) as does the salt. With even more time there’s some sweeter fruit with the apricot and orange peel–I want to say peach. The citrus gets brighter (closer to lemon) with time and the smoke gets slightly ashy. I’m also getting a floral note. With water it’s all about the apricot again with a bit of toffee and brown sugar–salt brings up the rear.

Palate: As on the nose but in a different order (gunpowder, apricot, salt). Minerally peat here too but fewer of the sweeter notes from the nose. On subsequent sips the salt is front and center and the minerally peat is more present too along with a bit of pepper. Still not as much fruit as on the nose. With more time citrus (dried orange peel) does emerge to join the apricot but the minerally peat, pepper and gunpowder are to the fore. Water pulls out more of the citrus but also intensifies the peat. Indeed, it becomes more intense all around.

Finish: Long. The gunpowder comes back and the salt really intensifies. After a while the pepper emerges. With more time some of the apricot begins to hang around longer as well. Water keeps the fruit going longer on the finish with more orange here.

Comments: Very much the older, more graceful sibling of the 10 yo with far less of the trademark pepper. I really liked the nose a lot (somewhat Highland Park’ish) but the palate was not quite at that level. Still, very good indeed. I’ll be tasting this again tomorrow alongside a release from 2011 and I’ll be interested to see how they compare. Oh yes, I liked this better with water.

Rating: 88 points.


6 thoughts on “Talisker 18 (2007 Release)

  1. MAO,
    I wouldn’t try to be the annoying punctuation police if I didn’t think this was an exceptionally good blog worth a small attempt to polish it up a bit further.

    So with that said: Does your authoring platform let you distinguish between short “en” dashes and long “em” dashes? I’ve noticed that your posts only ever use the short “en” dashes, which look like hyphens and are sometimes confusing.

    In this post, for example, see the part where you say “…a bit of toffee and brown sugar–salt brings up the rear.” Someone could misunderstand that as a thing called “brown sugar-salt” bringing up the rear. I’m sure you mean “…a bit of toffee and brown sugar—full stop!—salt brings up the rear.”

    Anyway, if you’re still with me here, you could try using Alt+0151 to get the long “em” dash when you interrupt yourself with a separate idea.

    And if you’re not, just ignore me and I’ll go back to lurking in the virtual bushes, waiting for more Longrow reviews.



    • Now this is the kind of nit-picking I can get behind. I am sorry to say that this is something that I’ve noticed ever since I started bloggging but have done nothing about as I am a slow typist at the best of times (Microsoft Word, which I use for work, inserts the proper dash automatically). Now that I know that it actually bothers someone I’ll try my best to fix it (or begin to abuse parenthetical asides even more than I already do).


  2. Three and a half years later, I am finishing up the last of this and have two things to note:

    1. No harm has been done to the whisky despite there having been only 2 ounces in a four bottle for more than three years. The key bit here is that it’s a bottle with a polycone insert in the cap.

    2. The Talisker 18 was a hell of a whisky and a hell of a value back in the day.


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