Sunday 13 October 2013

Tasted #43: Talisker 30yo

Talisker - known by many (often incorrectly as a "peaty Islay dram"), loved by many. The ubiquitous 10yo dram from the Isle of Skye can be found in most bottle shops and bars around Australia, and at the $60-$70AUD it usually goes for, is an excellent value single malt.

What a lot of people don't realise though is how many current Talisker releases there are - and how many can be found in Australia. As well as the 10yo, the 57˚ North (NAS), 18yo and new(ish) Storm can all be found at various bottle shops in Australia. Add to that the new(er) Dark Storm, Port Ruighe (pronounced "Port-ree", tasting notes due soon), Distillers Editions and the older releases like the 25, 30 and 35 etc...Talisker has an impressive portfolio of single malts.

Having tried a few Taliskers and loved every single one of them, when the chance came up to try the 30yo (without shelling out $649 for a bottle), I jumped at it. Steph and I split up the dram and got on with the tasting... (obligatory photo from my visit to the Talisker Distillery in 2009 below).


Talisker 30yo (45.8% ABV, 30yo, OB, Isle of Skye Scotland)
Nose: Fresh cut grass, surprisingly light on the sea air / peat I get on the 10yo. I know older, peated whiskies tend to lose some of the peatiness with age, but I expected at least some on the nose. I also got slight notes of seaweed, vanilla and a hint of salted caramel. 

Palate: Wow, salty. Really salty. Light and extremely easy-drinking, but the salt really dominates. No fruity notes here - some bacon, and the slight vanilla notes still evident, but if this dram was a highway, the vanilla notes would be a Smart car and the saltiness a Mack truck...

Finish: Medium-length, with lingering salt, very subtle smoke and slight ashiness at the very end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100. Out of curiosity, I saved a little and compared it back to back with the 1L bottle of 10yo I have at home. Whilst the 30yo is certainly a LOT more complex (as you'd expect), I'm a little shocked to say I actually preferred the 10yo (which I rate 91/100)! I wouldn't have picked the 30yo as a Talisker at all, and while it has complexity equal to its 30 years, and is an enjoyable dram for me the salt just dominates everything - to the point of excess.

I'm heading to a Talisker tasting this week at Shirt Bar, where I'll be comparing the 10, Port Ruighe, Distillers Edition and Storm. Can't wait.

 - Martin.

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