At the end of my review of the Brora 30, 5th release I noted that older Taliskers share that profile. Here now is an older Talisker. Diageo has released a number of these but as with the 25 yo, the 30 yo stopped being released at cask strength at the end of the last decade. The last Talisker 25 yo at cask strength came out in 2009 (I’ve reviewed it, and probably gave it a slightly low score), and the last Talisker 30 yo was released in 2010. I have a bottle of that 2010 release on my shelves—not sure why I’m waiting to open it. In the meantime I’ve reviewed the 2006 and 2012 releases. I liked both a lot and I’ll be surprised if I don’t like this one as well. Older Taliskers tend to be very much in line with the profiles of the 10 yo and the 18 yo, mellower than the one and more austere than the other. I’m not sure what the fate of the 30 yo is. It’s not part of the 2018 special release slate (which instead includes a much younger Talisker). Then again, they’d skipped 2016 as well and released one in 2017. In any event, I’m sure the next one, if there is one, will cost a lot more than this one did in Duty Free at Dublin airport in 2016 (where a friend went above and beyond to snag one for me; I’d been alerted by international whisky geek bat signal that it was on sale). Anyway, none of this preamble has been very interesting; let’s get to the whisky.
Talisker 30, 2015 Release (45.8%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Minerally peat and an oily pepperiness and sweetness. There’s some wet limestone in there too and then some citronella and some orange. With more time sweeter notes emerge: mellow caramel, a bit of vanilla-cream. With a few drops of water there’s wax and mothballs.
Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose but with greater intensity and more pepper and lemon. Nice texture. Gets more and more coastal with each sip: brine, kelp, oyster liquor. With more time there’s more citrus here as well (between bitter orange and lemon). With water there’s more of the wet stones here as well along with soot; less pepper and less lemon.
Finish: Long. Salt and preserved lemon and wet stones, all expanding as it goes. The trademark chilli pepper makes an appearance at the end. Sooty smoke here too with water.
Comments: This is not an exuberant malt but it’s very good. Even at 45.8% it is in the neighbourhood of Monday’s Brora. A few streets away though: it doesn’t quite have its complexity or development. A higher strength might have allowed that to emerge. Still, nothing to scoff at as it is. I like it the best of the Talisker 30s I’ve reviewed so far; which is to say, more than the 2006 release, which was at cask strength (though that sample came from the very end of the bottle). I liked it better neat.
Rating: 90 points.