Talisker 8, Old Release

Having posted a review of a release of the Bowmore 30, Sea Dragon on the occasion of the 6th anniversary of the blog yesterday, I may as well continue to further the illusion that I am the kind of whisky blogger who spends all his time drinking bottles of whisky from bygone eras. Here accordingly is a Talisker 8. Not the one that was part of Diageo’s Special Release slate for 2018 (did that one even come to the US?) but one that was released at some point in the 1970s. That would make it a late 1960s or early 1970s distillation and I don’t believe I’d previously had any Talisker from the 1960s or early 1970s. My friend Nick S. brought it to one of our mutual friend Rich H.’s tastings in St. Paul last November—a tasting that featured a number of other excellent whiskies including this Caol Ila 34, 1982, this Ben Nevis 27, 1990 and this “Speyside Region” 43, 1973, plus some others I haven’t written up yet. Nick was also kind enough to pour me a 1.5 oz sample at the end of the evening to spend a little more time with later. I was very excited to taste it at the initial gathering—the O.W.I (Online Whisky Illuminati) have trained us well to prize any and all whisky released in the 1970s—and I’m even more appreciative of the opportunity to taste it again when I can spend more time with it. Here now are my thoughts after spending more time with it.

The bottle my sample was poured from.

Talisker 8 (45.8%; from a sample from a friend)

Nose: A little grassy with some lemon and a bit of mildly phenolic peat behind. A little bit of brine with time and more of the lemon. Water doesn’t do much for it.

Palate: Peppery, earthy with some bitter lemon and wax. The texture is a bit watery at first but seems to pick up with every sip. More of the lemon too now. Gets more peppery as it goes. With a bit of water there’s some wet stones but that’s about it.

Finish: Medium. No new development but no drop-off either. A little more pepper here with water.

Comments: There’s a clear through-line from this to the current Talisker 10. But the thrill of drinking Talisker from another era aside, I can’t really say it’s in a completely different league than the current Talisker 10.

Rating: 85 points.

Thanks to Nick S. for the sample!


2 thoughts on “Talisker 8, Old Release

  1. There’s a certain romanticism having whisky from these bygone eras. There’s a notion of that mass production and efficiencies took a back seat to quality. I’m wondering how much of it is really romanticism vs reality. This is in a field of n=1, so not enough data points. But it does make one wonder.


  2. Reading too much Serge can indeed get one riled up about the mystique of old bottles. The little experience I have in the matter makes me ponder the question of uniqueness more than the one of which is better.

    I find a certain uniformity occuring in modern releases, to the point of many whiskys becoming somewhat interchangeable. I worry about things being rounded off and losing their identity and their house styles for one that is cask finish driven or just kind of sweet oak and vanilla.


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