Talisker Distiller’s Edition (2015 Bottling)
Review: Talisker Distiller’s Edition (2015) 87/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on March 05, 2017
This is the sixth Single Malt Whisky which I tasted at the Beyond Islay tasting event hosted by Ryan Engen who is the Director of Spirits, for Liquor Stores N.A. Inc. at the Edmonton Wine and Beyond McTagggert Ridge location. At the tasting I enjoyed 7 different Single Malts in what was termed the Beyond Islay Single Malt Whisky Tasting. The Whiskies at the tasting were selected to represent the diversity of Scotland’s Island Whiskies reaching beyond the popular Islay Whiskies to the malts produced on the lesser known Islands. Talisker Distiller’s Edition (2015) continues our exploration as we visit the Isle of Skye in which is the largest and the northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.
The Talisker distillery is located upon the shores of Loch Harport with dramatic views of a dramatic range of rocky mountains (the Cuillin) located on the Isle of Skye. It is the oldest working distillery on the Island, and is operated by United Distillers and Vintners for the spirits conglomerate Diageo.
Talisker Distiller’s Edition (2015) is produced from peated malted barley. The spirit was distilled in 2005 and prior to bottling was finished in Amoroso Sherry casks before being bottled at 45.8 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 5/5
I love the presentation for this Talisker Whisky. The cardboard box which houses the spirit (not shown) looks grand and immediately draws the eye in a retail setting (and upon my bar shelf). The label employs colours and fonts which are professional and easy to read, and the bottle and the box carry a bevy of information including the distillation date, the bottling date and information regarding the Amoroso finish.
In the Glass 9/10
The whisky displays itself as an amber/copper coloured spirit which when I tilt and twirl my glass shows medium fat legs which trickle slowly down the inside of my glass. The initial aroma is rich and inviting with fine oak spice and pepper melded into a soft punchy peat.
As the glass breathes I notice some nice butterscotch and caramel notes which seem to be lightly accented with smokey tones of dry fruit (dates and raisins). There are also sweet malty notes, and the peat has both a light briny quality and a mild herbal quality that reminds me of menthol and heather. The oak spices continue to assert themselves, and I notice impressions of both leather and tobacco, as well as glimpses of honey, vanilla and light speckles of ginger.
In The Mouth 51.5/60
The entry into the mouth brings smoky peat flavours with a touch of peppery wood spice and hints of camphor. There is a pleasing malty sweetness running within the whisky and a winding of herbal menthol and heather the combination of which makes this whisky easy to sip. There is a firm undercurrent of dry fruit and dark chocolate which seems to hint at a few sherry casks used to age the whisky. I taste a punch of tobacco, some old leather, and an underlying almond-like nuttiness. Traces of salt as well as sweet honey and vanilla round out the flavour.
In the Throat 13/15
The mid length finish is peppery and filled with dry fruit. Some honey sweetness and hints of menthol are followed by echoes of lightly briny peat smoke and chocolate.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
At the Beyond Islay Tasting (hosted by Ryan Engen) many of the guests chose the Talisker Distiller’s Edition (2015 Bottling) as their favourite dram. The combination of oak, lightly briny peat and dry fruit is very appealing. I would have preferred if the whisky were perhaps aged a few years more such that the underlying whisky could have shone more brightly against the dry fruit and the peat which is why my score was perhaps a few points below the general feeling in the room.
The whisky is suitable for sipping neat or over ice, and I suspect it could easily find a place in classic cocktail recipes.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
The Rob Roy Cocktail
2 oz Talisker’s Distiller’s Edition (2015 Bottling)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
dash Angostura Bitters
Place the first three ingredients in a Metal Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a Cocktail Glass
Garnish with a Brandied Cherry
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)