I'm working from home on a Friday afternoon, so thought I'd take a break for a little review. I'm on the last heel of a 1L bottle of Talisker Dark Storm, purchased at auction some months ago but otherwise only available at duty free. I presume that this is basically Talisker Storm (both are NAS) matured in heavily charred casks. I have a bottle of Talisker 10 Year Old as well, so let's try them side-by-side.
The colour is a medium amber. On the nose, it's like standard Talisker but upped a few notches: big oak, black liquorice, freshly ground black pepper, prunes, mint, cayenne and dark chocolate. Cumin, brine and pretty intense peat smoke - seems smokier than other Taliskers I've had. Lemon curd. Maltier and spicier with water. Not subtle, but then again what would you expect from a Talisker called Dark Storm?
Creamy on the palate, with hot spices, chunky oak and lots of peat. Baked apples with cinnamon (and more cumin). Woody hickory. Very salty of course, with more of that classic liquorice note. Here you also notice more of the vanilla/caramel from the bourbon casks. Water makes the malt oilier and brings out the char - is this from Tennessee??
The finish is surprisingly gentle - too gentle, with a bit of oak, pepper and liquorice, and not much else. If Talisker 10 got picked up at a bar by Jack Daniel's, whisked away to Islay and got knocked up on the malting floor at Lagavulin, the bastard baby would be this: Oaky, smoky and oily with liquorice, malt and big fat bourbon notes. I like this a lot - but still, it's no Talisker 10. Speaking of which, how do they compare? Side by side, the Dark Storm has more power and wood, but I prefer the 10's (relative) subtlety and fruitier notes. Regardless, if you are a Talisker fan, this is worth picking up and giving it a try (and it's much better than the standard Storm).