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Talisker 1999 Distillers Edition

Average score from 2 reviews and 2 ratings 88

Talisker 1999 Distillers Edition

Product details

  • Brand: Talisker
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • Series: Distillers Edition
  • ABV: 45.8%
  • Vintage: 1999

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@hunggar
Talisker 1999 Distillers Edition

I’m slowly working my way to buying a Lagavulin DE. It’s expensive, and I’ve yet to pull the trigger on the increasingly ridiculous price tag. In the mean time I was happy to grab a bottle of Talisker DE for a much more reasonable price. I was intrigued by the concept of a sherried Tally. I’m a fan of their house style, but it was hard to imagine how it would taste as a sherried dram. This 11 year old was distilled in 1999 and treated in Amoroso casks.

Nose: This one needs time to open up. Very bright sherry fruits with that earthy, mineral-rich Talisker peat. Strawberry licorice, Grand Marnier, pine, seaweed, dark chocolate, almond extract, and a gentle oakiness.

Palate: Very nice arrival, with peat coming on first. Toffee, earth, peat, almond, cherry, charred meat, mesquite barbecue sauce.

Finish: This is where it becomes unquestionably Talisker. As soon as those mineral notes kick in, one can’t help but make the obvious comparison to the 10. Sautéed mushrooms in soy sauce, limestone, vanilla, earthy peat, honey and metal. However unlike the 10 this also has cherries, cinnamon, dark chocolate, bitter orange rind, and cocktail bitters. Medium long.

This is good, but it’s not great. While it’s well-made and dangerously drinkable, it’s just a bit too… predictable. Great whiskies surprise you and take you in new directions. This has some lovely peat and sherry flavours, but they don’t come together in any kind of unexpected way. It tastes a bit TOO much like I expected it to. It tastes like Talisker + sherry, without any of the quirks, twists, or eccentricities that make great whiskies so delicious and unique.

Personally speaking, I’m not sure Talisker makes a great candidate for a wine-finished whisky. For me its core flavour might be difficult to pair with anything too fruity. Or course I could be wrong. After all, this is the first wine-finished Talisker I’ve had. But when I drink this, all I can think about is how much more I love the 10. The 10 is cheaper, better, and more confident. That being said; you could do a lot worse than this. Recommended for fans of peat and sherry.

@WhiskyBee: Mine’s not that old yet, but it’s quite easy for me to imagine that happening. In my experience the peat and sherry combo is extremely volatile. As the peat dissipates the sherry can often take on a sweetie quality that I don’t care for. Shame that this whisky is part of that group.

@Taco: I can appreciate your perspective. This lost points because I’m a fan of the 10 and I’m constantly comparing it to a whisky I prefer. But I have to admit this is good stuff, and if I wasn’t thinking about the 10, I’d probably have given it a much higher score.

@tjb: Good call on buying those early. The Laga in particular keeps going up and up.

@rigmorole: Yup, I’m with you. Just didn’t take to it. Vatting might take it somewhere interesting though.

I bought a bottle of this, tasted a friend's open bottle and the promptly returned mine to the store for an exchange. Like you say, it's good and very smooth but not very complex. I would be overjoyed to drink it for around $50 but not higher. It also would have been great to use as a vatting experiment along with something else.

@WhiskyBee

I suppose it would have been wiser to introduce myself to Talisker via the signature 10 yo, but I seem to get less wise as I get older. Every time I stop to think, I forget to start again.

Actually, this was sort of an impulse buy. Every few months, I take an hour drive to a liquor "superstore" that stocks several goodies I can't get at the local shops. I figured I can get the 10 yo most anywhere, so I grabbed this one while I could.

This being my first Talisker, I can't compare it to Distillers Editions from other years. But my nose and palate tell me I picked a good 'un.

Nose: This one needs loads of time to open up. Right out of the bottle, all I get is a powerful whiff of old medicine with maybe a touch of peat. But what a difference a drop of water, a lid, and a 20-minute wait makes. The medicine has vanished completely, replaced by berries, sweet cream, and a dash of pepper. The sherry-cask influence plays a supporting role, but it's the one constant throughout. Some chocolate emerges after a few more minutes, and I'm getting some bacon around the edges. The peat is still there, but it's playing hide-and-seek. More time, more changes. Seashores, caramel, flower gardens...what a chameleon whisky, what a terrific nose! I haven't even tasted it yet, and I'm already satisfied that this was money well-spent.

Arrival: All the sweet notes mentioned above blast through the door and announce, "Let's party!"

Development: A dramatic and odd shift to pepper as the peat makes a fleeting return appearance. Somehow it works.

Finish: The only slight disappointment in the experience. Lasts long, but the best elements seem a little clipped. Some sweetness remains, but subdued by astringent and bitter notes. It's not unpleasant -- just a bit of a letdown after such a buildup.

Despite the mediocre exit, I'm not complaining. There's too much here to appreciate for this to be anything but a very rewarding experience. I suggest nosing the bejeezus out of it, then letting it dance around your mouth until its legs fall off.

Loses two points in the finish, and another two points for coloring and chill filtering. Why would they do this for a distiller's edition?

Yes, there's a few minor shortcomings, but this is one great whisky. I don't know how available this edition is any more. The store had one lone bottle of the 1999 edition among several 2000's, and I took a chance on the '99 and lucked out. I don't know if I'll ever finish the bottle. I want to keep a bit so I can nose it for years to come.

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