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Expression Session — Tasting Five Whiskies In The Talisker Portfolio

It’s really hard to argue with the experience of sipping Talisker scotch. The seaside distillery on the Isle of Skye is everything you dream a Scottish whisky distillery would be. When you visit, you taste the seafoam and brine on the air, you dine on copious oysters while overlooking the bay and the distillery, and you drink a lot of what I would argue just might be the best single malt in Scotland.

The beauty of Talisker — in my professional opinion — is the accessibility paired with strong flavor notes. This isn’t a peat monster from Islay, but it’s also not some right-down-the middle blend. Talisker distills and ages distinct, fascinating whisky expressions that help folks fall in love with single malts. Their whiskies are self-contained “Ah-ha!” moments, bottled by the sea.

Last week, adventurer, conservationist, and TV host Forrest Galante and I got the chance to taste five core bottles from the Talisker line. These scotch whiskies got us buzzed, opened the doors to a fascinating conversation, and definitely did not let us down in the flavor department. Check out my tasting notes from the Expression Session below.

Talisker 10

Malts.com

ABV: 45.8%
Average Price: $75

The Whisky:

This is a pretty straightforward endeavor. This juice is aged for ten years and then it’s bottled. This expression serves as the perfect entry point to the brand with its easy nature and high drinkability.

Tasting Notes:

Notes of tart fruit greet you with a hint of that malted barley. The sip holds onto the berries as a billow of smoke lurks in the background with a bit more malt. The sip clocks a note of spice on the short-yet-warming end.

Bottom Line:

This is my go-to for highballs. I generally mix it with a very minerally and fizzy water like San Pellegrino or Gerolsteiner.

Talisker Storm

Malts.com

ABV: 45.8%
Average Price: $82

The Whisky:

This whisky has an interesting aging process. The whisky is aged in a combination of used barrels and re-charred barrels. Basically, the take old barrels, strip the charring, and then re-char the barrels to their standards. The process adds a new layer of depth by rejuvenating the staves.

Tasting Notes:

This sip amps up the peat a tad while bringing in the brine next to a clear maltiness. The smoke at play here is more akin seaside campfire while the brininess is reminiscent of oyster liquor. There’s a hint of the berry leftover from the Talisker 10 with a touch more peppery spice on the medium-length end.

Bottom Line:

Bring this bottle the next time you go camping at the beach. Also, serve it with oysters. In fact, I like to drop an oyster into a shot glass of this and shoot both at the same time.

Talisker Distiller’s Edition

Malts.com

ABV: 45.8%
Average Price: $96

The Whisky:

This expression is a double matured Talisker 10. The double maturing, in this case, refers to using old Amoroso sherry casks. The deeply seasoned wood adds some serious brightness and deeper color to the dram.

Tasting Notes:

The peat and pepper are met with a plummy nose. There’s a velvet texture to this one that’s very pleasing to the palate as the jammy berry sweetness dominates the peat with a small kick of malt on the end.

Bottom Line:

This is a solid sipper (especially for those wanted to ease in with something a little sweeter) that I also like to use in cocktails married with sweet and herbaceous vermouth.

Game of Thrones House of Greyjoy — Talisker Select Reserve

Malts.com

ABV: 45.8%
Average Price: $60

The Whisky:

This bottle celebrates the final season of Game of Thrones and House Greyjoy. The kicker, as Forrest Galante pointed out, “It has a freakin’ Kraken on the box!” I might be paraphrasing, we were three big drams in by that point.

Tasting Notes:

This is all brine and smoke. There’s a sense of what your clothes smell like after sitting in the rain on a beach next to a smoky campfire all night while eating shellfish. The sweetness comes from the malts with a nice pop of peppery spice way in the background of this sip.

Bottom Line:

This is a good pairing whisky for a barbecue and/or seafood feast, especially as the base of a highball. It’s also a cool gift because of the aforementioned Kraken and the GOT connection.

Talisker 18

Malts.com

ABV: 45.8%
Average Price: $250

The Whisky:

This is where the Talisker 10 ends up when it ages for eight more years in the Talisker storehouse. This bottle serves as a great lesson in how aging truly can transform juice so vividly over time.

Tasting Notes:

The berry sweetness is muted as the smoke takes center stage. This isn’t a billow of smoke blown in your face. It’s more of a crackling whiff of smoke when you open up a fireplace to load in more wood. The sweetness edges towards a rich toffee as the spice leans into a sweet/mild chili pepper, while the smoke curls and swirls through your senses on the subtle and lasting finish.

Bottom Line:

The perfect sipper to have on hand to celebrate something (like the end of the workweek). I drink it with one rock to help open up those flavors.

Check out the full tasting below!

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