Talisker 11, 2009 (Old Particular for K&L)

Let’s finish the month with one more peated whisky, but let’s get off the island of Islay for at least one day. We’ll go up north to Skye, to Talisker and an unusual independent bottling. Unusual, not because I know something about this particular release but because independently bottled Talisker is not very common—though it’s relatively more common of late than it once used to be. I think this was part of K&L’s cache of 2021 casks. It’s twice the age of the two previous K&L Talisker releases I’ve reviewed, which were 5 and 6 years of age respectively. Add the fact that it’s from a refill hogshead and I am positively looking forward to this one. Let’s get right to it.

Talisker 11, 2009 (59.6%; Old Particular for K&L; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)

Nose: Mild notes of lemon and malted wheat with some light mineral smoke running through it. Sweeter with each sniff and then more savoury (ham brine). With time the lemon turns to citronella. A bit of water brings the salt out here as well and push the lemon back.

Palate: Comes in pretty much as advertised by the nose. Very approachable at the (high) full strength and a nice oily texture. Keeps going in this vein on the second and third sips. Oak? What oak? Some notes of wet wool in the background now. With time a mild talcum powder note appears but it resolves on its own. Okay, let’s see what water does for it. More of that wet wool with water but not much other change that I can find.

Finish: Long. Salt builds here behind the cereals and lemon and the smoke retreats to a prickly pepperiness. Wiith water that talcum powder note gets pushed to the finish.

Comments: Well, this is rather good. I don’t know that I would have identified it as a Talisker if tasting blind but that’s probably only because the official releases are my only benchmark. Anyway, I really like this mellow take on Talisker’s profile—though it’s some distance away from them in complexity, it does remind me more than a little of the old cask strength 25 year olds. By which I mean that I can very easily see a cask like this growing up to be a core of one of those. Would have been nice to have bought a full bottle of this. If I had, I would drink the rest of it neat: this is the rare high strength single malt that I preferred without water.

Rating: 87 points.



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