Following Monday’s review of a bottle from the first-ever release of the Talisker 18 in 2004, let’s continue Talisker week with another from the distillery’s core range. The Talisker Distillers Edition—like all Diageo’s Distillers Edition releases—is the distillery’s entry-level age-stated malt—in this case the 10 yo—finished for a few months in sherry or wine casks—in this case, Amoroso sherry casks. As I’ve noted before, the only one of these I’ve consistently liked is the Lagavulin Distillers Edition. In most of the others the finish has not in my view tended to add very much that’s compelling to the base malt; though I suppose it is always good to have some variation. Such was my view of the only other Talisker Distillers Edition I’ve reviewed—the 2011 release. This one is from four years later. Will it be appreciably different? And will it make me curious enough about more recent releases to seek them out? Let’s see.
Talisker Distiller’s Edition, 2005-2015 (45.8%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Sherry off the top with mild peat and the Talisker pepper below. On the second sniff there’s some brine as well and then expanding sweetness (butterscotch, light caramel, apricot). With time the brine expands and some savoury gunpowder pops out as well. Water pushes the gunpowder and the pepper back and emphasizes the softer notes.
Palate: Comes in with the smoke and pepper and some dried orange peel. Good weight and drinking strength. More peat and coal smoke on subsequent sips and then the ash from the finish starts jumping out earlier. Still quite peppery here with water but there’s also some malt now and a hint of milky cocoa.
Finish: Long. The pepper expands and keeps going, picking up some peat and ash as it goes; joined by salt crystals at the end. With time the ash and salt expand. Mellower here too with water but the ash is still dominant.
Comments: The proper comparison for this one is with the regular 10 yo but as the last Talisker I had was the 18 yo I can’t help noting that this has none of the nuance of that one. That is, of course, a function as much of age as of maturation regimen. Well, while this is a simpler proposition all around, I do like it, especially on the nose. In fact, I like it more than I did the 2011 release.
Rating: 85 points.