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article imageOp-Ed: Whisky review #4: Talisker Special

By Tim Sandle     Nov 9, 2014 in Food
Full bodied and smoky is perhaps the best way to sum up Talisker ten year old. It is a strong tasting whisky from the Scottish islands. Read on to see what Digital Journal makes of this dram.
This is the fourth in the series of whisky reviews on Digital Journal. As with the third review we take the choppy waters off the west coast of Scotland to the islands of the Inner Hebrides. However, our debarking point is a different island and distillery.
The Talisker Distillery is found on the Isle of Skye, where it is the oldest working distillery. The distillery is located on the shores of Loch Harport in the village of Carbost. The distillery was founded in 1830. Today it is part of the global drinks company Diageo.
Talisker ten year-old is a distinctive whisky. This may well stem from its unusual production process. When the whisky is distilled a loop in some unusually shaped swan neck lye pipes takes the vapour from the stills to the worm tubs so some of the alcohol already condenses before it reaches the cooler. It then runs back in to the stills and is distilled again.
In terms of the whisky's characteristics, keeping with the key factors:
Nose: The smell is of thick, pungent smoke. There is perhaps a note of kippers; seaweed and apple peels are distinctive. This is due to the high phenol content in the whisky. Overall, the essence of the first sniff is fresh and fragrant.
Palate: Sipping the whisky reveal some wondrous flavours. The first slide to the palate brings rich dried-fruit sweetness with clouds of smoke and strong barley-malt flavours. However, the taste sensation does not end there. As the whisky is swallowed the finish is huge, long, warming and peppery. There is also a strong taste of peat, a characteristic of the water used in the production process. The water is drawn from a spring called Cnoc nan Speireag (Hawk Hill) which flows over peat and this adds this peaty flavour to the whisky.
Finish: The final finish rewards the drinker with a light finish with an appetising sweetness.
In terms of food pairings, a sip of Talisker 10 Year Old with a morsel of strong blue cheese goes very well. As the cheese gently dissolves in your mouth, take a sip of Talikser and enjoy the best of both worlds.
Talisker is said to be the favourite whisky of writers Robert Louis Stevenson and HV Morton. For the less experienced, as with our review of Laphroaig, it could take a while for your palate to appreciate some of these more ‘peaty’ whiskies. However, it is well worth preserving.
The Digital Journal rating is 8.5 out of 10.
A variation of the standard Talisker is Talikster Storm (a variant called "Dark Storm" is also available, but only as an airport exclusive.) This whisky, which is a little more expensive, has the same essential characteristics although there are some interesting variations.
On the nose, the first sniff is met with a spicy, mellow smoke coupled with a honeyed sweet maltiness, and finally a tingle of pepper.
On the first taste, there is an initial sweetly mellow and rich taste; this is quickly followed by a spicy heat.
The finish consists of a lingering well-balance mix of sweetness, smoke and salt. The after taste is clean but long-lasting.
Talisker Storm is more intense and smoky than the 10 year-old. The Digital Journal rating is 7 out of 10.
Talisker officially retails for around $65 (£40), although it can often be obtained a little cheaper.
This feature forms part of a developing series of whisky reviews on Digital Journal. Previously reviewed (and sampled!) whiskies are:
Whisky review #1: Isle of Jura - DJ rating 7 out of 10
Whisky review #2: Jameson - DJ rating 6 out of 10
Whisky review #3: Laphroaig 10 year old - DJ rating 8 out 10
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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