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If you've known me for longer then 15 minutes you know that my favorite Scottish distillery is Talisker, hands down. I've visited the distillery on the Isle of Skye, I was one of the first people in Perth to try the Talisker Storm when it first came out, I LOVE Talisker.
Whisky is an emotional thing and it should be in my opinion. Alcohol isn't just about what it smells and tastes like, it's who you're with and what you're doing, what special event you're celebrating.
Several years ago on my wife's and my first wedding anniversary we decided to go back to the hotel where we'd spent our wedding night and have dinner.
We'd spent our honeymoon at a whisky bar in Melbourne so we decided we'd have a whisky or two at the hotel over the course of our dinner. In preparation for that we'd brought our whisky bible.
However when we got to the hotel restaurant the whisky selection was abysmal and everything was more expensive then we'd remembered. Even worse at this stage my wife and I only recognized names on the whisky list, we'd never tried any of them.
So I pulled out the whisky bible, did a quick flip through and saw that the Talisker 10 year old had scored very well, 90+ so we ordered that.
And out it came in the world's biggest tumbler, this tumbler was unbelievable! And off the tumbler swirled smoke and white peppers and the most amazing aromas.
I fell in love with Talisker then and there.
Diageo further cemented that love for me when they found out that I was heading to Scotland and gave me a behind the scenes VIP tour of Talisker with a tasting covering the entire range.
Now my Talisker collection has moved from the 10 year old into Talisker 57 North, 3 different releases of the 25 year old, and the Talisker 35 year old.
Everytime I see a new Talisker I have this compulsion to purchase it, and with a easy going wife that's usually possible. So when I returned from Scotland to find out that the company I work for was letting me choose the whisky selection for both the shop that I run and our sister store I was over the moon.
I completely lost the plot when going over the Gordon & MacPhail pricelist I discovered a 21 year old sherry cask Talisker, part of their Secret Stills range.
I needed it, in fact I needed more then just one. So I quickly ordered a few bottles and was a happy man.
And for almost a year those bottles have sat on my shelf, awaiting a special occasion worthy of me cracking one open, and a couple of weeks ago that occasion occurred.
I've taken to doing industry whisky tastings at my house where bottleshop and bar owners come to my house to learn about whisky. A quiet environment where they're not busy running around dealing with customers, but instead a place where they can sit down, relax and ask whatever whisky questions that they might have.
I had told my brother Vinesh that if he came over I'd crack open something really special and over the course of the evening I cracked open two special bottles, a 22 year old Rosebank and a 21 year old Talisker.
Into the glencairns goes the 22 year old Talisker and while we nose here's some details on this bad boy.
Distilled in 1986, aged for 21 years in first fill sherry casks. The casks were 1361, 1362 and 1363. Bottled in 2007 at a strength of 45% abv by Gordon & MacPhail.
Everyone immediately goes into contemplation mode, sitting there looking at their glencairn, nosing the whisky, lost in contemplation over their drams.
The color is glorious and you can immediately say to yourself "yep sherry cask!" Lovely and dark as can be.
The nose isn't your typical Talisker nose, there's a little bit of smoke, a small amount of peat, some iodine, chocolate fudge, citrus, soft vanilla.
It's interesting as the nose moves back and forth in the glass from softly smoky with light sherry notes to more strongly sherry with the smoke and peat in the background.
It's a nose that I could easily play around with for 20 or 30 minutes.
Time for a drink!
Oak, quite oaky in fact, bittersweet, starts off sherry, minty, thin mouthfeel, iodine, faint peppers, ashy, cigarette ash with chocolate, slight citrus, more chocolate.
A medium length finish, smoky, with soft citrus ends this whisky.
It's quite good, and definitely not your average Talisker, and to be honest I can't make up my mind if that works in this whiskies favor or against it. The weak mouthfeel is a bit of a disappointment, but I really enjoyed the flavor combination so 6 of one half a dozen of the other I guess.
A bottle retails out at around $270 to $300 a bottle, would I buy another bottle? Yes, especially now that I've tried it I'm going in with eyes wide open where before I just had an idea in my mind of what it'd be like.
If you're thinking of buying a bottle just keep in mind that it's not your typical Talisker, yes it's a very good whisky, but it's likely not what you're expecting!