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Talisker Select Reserve

Talisker GoT? Finally? Better Late Than Never...

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

14th Oct 2019


Talisker Select Reserve
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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So back in May, the first four Game of Thrones malts showed up at the LCBO (Cardhu, Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie and Glendullan) in fair enough quantities that I was able to pick up two of each without too much effort. For the remaining four malts, we waited...and waited...and waited... Now maybe I just got lazy, but they seemed to have vanished before they barely arrived. Checking periodically, it seemed that some would come...and go...and come...and go again. Luckily, I happened to grab the new Talisker, but at present time the other three have come and gone already. Frustrating.

This Talisker (Select Reserve) is a NAS aligned with the House Greyjoy, featuring a kraken on the label (not to be confused with the spiced rum!) I know nothing about Game of Thrones, so can't speak to what Greyjoy is like. Except maybe once in a while they scream "Release the Kraken!" (I love that line).

The colour is a pale gold. On the nose it's that unmistakeable sooty / peppery Talisker note, with cumquat, heather honey, soft caramel and a touch of cinnamon. Slightly metallic. Thick malt. Musty with wet bonfire. Water adds some smoke but otherwise mutes the rest. Quintessentially Talisker but there's nothing new here...yet.

On the palate we have some blood orange supporting delicate peat, cracked black pepper, thicker caramel and vanilla. Quite creamy mouthfeel. Caramelized sugar. Some lemon pith there, with time. Slightly herbal. Where water drowned the nose, here it lifts the palate with some heat and warm spices. Seems creamier than standard Talisker, which we'll find out soon when we compare....in any case, this is very nice.

The finish is fairly long with bigger oak, more pepper, beef stock and chilies. I've not yet met a Talisker I didn't like (wait, that's not true.... Dark Storm didn't work for me!) This one is spicy, creamy, peppery and smoky, all in very nice balance. Now, compared to the 10 Year Old? Visually, the 10 is a hair darker (remember, the Select Reserve is NAS). I find the 10 noses and tastes a bit fruitier, with more tropical fruits rather than just a focus on the orange, like the Select Reserve. And yes, the Select Reserve is definitely creamier. So for me overall, as nice as it is, it doesn't quite hit the level of the 10. Note that Gavin Smith scored this a 91 for Whisky Advocate.

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BlueNote commented

@talexander This one sounds like the best of them. I don't think, from what I have heard, that any of this series brought anything new and exciting to the party. I'm guessing that you bought them for their collectible potential?

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

talexander commented

@BlueNote Collectible, and to taste of course. The Lagavulin was really good too.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

MadSingleMalt commented

Some club buddies had a whole table of these GOT bottles out one night, and I tried the Talisker and the Lagavulin.

The Talisker was solid but unnecessary in a world where the 10 exists - and is so affordable to boot. I tried it in on two separate occasions with that same result, which I note because...

The Lagavulin seemed outright bad. Worse than the 8. Another club buddy says it's "magic in a glass," though, so who knows. I only tried it that once.

4 years ago 4Who liked this?

talexander commented

@MadSingleMalt Yeah, I'd put the Lagavulin higher than the Talisker, but why? Well, because... um...Lagavulin.

4 years ago 3Who liked this?

Nock commented

@MadSingleMalt I can commiserate. And I "get" why you were turned off. I am back and forth on the 9yo. I will go on record saying that I am not a huge fan of the 8yo (200th anniversary release in 2016). And I prefer the 9yo to the 8yo. But there is something about the 9yo that puts me off at time. I wonder if there is simply too much e-150a? Or maybe some off sherry casks? There are night where I think it is fine . . . and then nights where I think it is below what it should be. I do agree with people who say that the 9yo has more in common with the 16yo than the 8yo does. Still, a good bottle of the 16yo is, in my opinion, far superior to the either the 8yo or the 9yo

@talexander thanks for the review. I also picked up two a number of these (not all). I agree that the Talisker GoT is sold, but not great.

4 years ago 3Who liked this?

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