In my review yesterday of the Talisker 18 from 2007 I noted that I’d purchased that one for $49 in 2007 right before the price started climbing steadily. Well, in early 2012 when the average price for the Talisker 18 was at $80 or higher in the US a well-known store in Kentucky (which no longer ships) offered it at $59. Once again, I was an idiot and only got one bottle. It was right after this that the 18 yo disappeared briefly and then returned in new packaging with the shocking $140 price tag. I’ve not bought any since or tasted any Talisker 18 from 2012 or after, but am happy to report that this iteration from 2011 is pretty good.
Talisker 18 (45.8%; 2011 Release; from my own bottle)
Nose: More peat right off the bat than in the 2007 and it’s both more phenolic and more farmy (though not very phenolic or farmy per se). The fruit begins to emerge after a bit: it’s in the same family as the 2007 (apricot, orange peel) but less pronounced. A couple of minutes later there’s some struck matches and a fair bit of brine. The citrus gets a little brighter and stronger with time and eventually the apricot comes out much more strongly as well. A few drops of water and the fruit is even more to the fore.
Palate: Very much as on the nose with the peat making the first impression with the citrus a little behind and a bit of gunpowder behind that. Pepper, missing on the nose, makes an appearance here. Will the fruit slowly expand on the palate as well? Hmmm not as much yet. Let’s give it more time. Well, no, it doesn’t, but there’s more ashy smoke now. Okay, let’s see what water does. Well, it does bring out some citrus but it also renders the texture rather watery.
Finish: Medium. Peat, pepper and some late emerging citrus peel. More peppery still with water and there’s more smoke too.
Comments: I liked the nose a lot but on the palate I don’t like it quite as much as the 2007 release; it’s not as vibrant, despite being a recently opened bottle (compared to a 2-2.5 yo sample), and the fruit is far too subdued. I’m not sure if there are fewer sherry casks in more recent versions of the Talisker 18, but there certainly seems to be more peat/smoke here than fruit. Not bad at all, though.
Rating: 86 points.