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Talisker 30 Year Old bottled 2021

Enchanting Middle Finger

8 992

@markjedi1Review by @markjedi1

26th Nov 2021


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

The new Talisker 30 Year Old, which was launched this year in a limited edition of 3,216 bottles, was bottled at cask strength. I'm a bit surprised that this is only 48.5%. But I am even more surprised with the painful price tag: more than 1,000 euros! Three years ago I bought a Talisker 30 for less than half that! In fact, for this money I can buy 3 or 4 bottles of the excellent 25-year-old. Admittedly, I will not get a fancy box (sarcasm, anyone?). Anyway, let's leave the opulent packaging and the horrible price tag for what it is and check the liquid on its own merits. This had better be good.

The nose is very subdued and elegant and a textbook example of what Talisker should be. Maritime notes, citrus fruit, pepper, delicate smoke. Wet wood, orange peels, a soft sea breeze and fishing nets. Shells on the beach. An oyster on a slate. Enchantingly delicious nose.

The onset is mild, but certainly not weak despite the modest cask strength. Nice and oily, bittersweet on lemon and grapefruit with a tropical hint left and right, before a soft salty touch completely wraps the taste buds. A nice tantalum of wood spices, delicate smoke that warms your mouth and proves again that this is a very elegant Talisker.

The Finish balances perfectly between salty maritime elements and the beautiful, almost tropical sweet fruit. This is Enjoyment with a capital E.

In my introduction I wrote: This had better be good. It's not good, it's excellent, it's enchantingly delicious. But completely overpriced, obviously. It seems as if Diageo no longer wants to have this stuff tasted, but only wants it to be locked up in underground bunkers with 8-digit locks by the less ordinary mortals who do not know what to do with their money. They raise their middle finger to the real whisky lover. What a pity.

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casualtorture commented

Facts. Great review.

2 years ago 6Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@markjedi1, a 92 score from you is about a 105 in layman's score. A great review for a great whisky...and a lovely closing statement, "They raise their middle finger to the real whisky lover"....hahaha, the Diageo salute.

Cheers tumbler_glass

2 years ago 7Who liked this?

markjedi1 commented

@paddockjudge Well, it is absolutely stunning. And if it were like 600 EUR, I'd probably put it under my own X-mas tree. But this pricing is ridiculous and I'm afraid it will get worse before it gets better. Time for the bubble to burst... so that we can finally again enjoy these outstanding malts without having to donate a kidney.

2 years ago 7Who liked this?

RianC commented

@markjedi1 - Great review and well said that man! This is one I would love to taste but, like so many bottles with an age over 20, they are frustratingly out of reach.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

Wierdo commented

The Scotch Whisky Association really needs to legislate for what the terms Cask Strength and Batch strength mean imo. At the moment those terms can be used to mean anything of a higher abv.

To my mind cask strength should mean it has water added when it is initially put into the cask. It then completes it's maturation of however many years and is bottled straight from the cask with no further water being added. I'd say that batch strength should mean the same except it is whatever abv the whisky is once a load of casks are mixed together into a batch for bottling.

Take Tamdhu and Glen Grant's 'batch strength' releases. Tamdhu's have different numbered releases all at seemingly random high abv. Batch #3 58.3% Batch #6 56.8% Whereas Glen Grant's batch strength whisky is a continuous release at exactly 50%

I seriously doubt that once this Talisker came out of the cask it was the conveniently round figure of 48.5% abv.

For all their struct rules and regulations regarding what can or cannot go on the label the SWA are extremely lax on what these terms mean and distilleries are using them to mislead customers imo. These whiskies are 'higher strength' but not actually 'cask strength' as far as I'm concerned.

2 years ago 4Who liked this?

RianC commented

@Wierdo - I find the SWA are ALL about protecting their business interests (obviously!) so they will only switch things round when it is convenient for them to do so. Take the paxarette 'banning' - they wanted to improve Scotch's image after the 80's slump. It was nothing to do with taste but what will hurt/improve sales. Considering how much cask influence has, I still think it's hypocritical given what goes into casks currently ...

The ambiguous terminology suits them just fine so doubt we'll see a change anytime soon. I completely agree with you though, it's dishonest.

I also suspect, but could be wrong, that Diageo have a significant influence on policy at the SWA ...

2 years ago 3Who liked this?

casualtorture commented

@Wierdo I always thought "cask strength" had to mean that it wasn't diluted at all and "batch strength" was just marketing mumbo jumbo.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

markjedi1 commented

As far as I am aware, cask strength is indeed the strength straight from the cask with no futher dilution with water. Batch strength is similar to cask strength, but the sum of the cask strengths per batch (where they vat several casks together and plan to have consecutive batches).

2 years ago 3Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@paddockjudge He's getting more generous with the scores in his older age. Really old buggers like me just get more cynical. confounded

Excellent review with a good dose of cynicism @markjedi1.

2 years ago 0

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