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Talisker distillery is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye and was founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, sons of the local doctor. It was rebuilt between 1880 and 1887, and was extended in 1900. In 1925 the distillery was acquired by the Distillers Company Ltd and today is part of Diageo. In 1972 the stills were converted to steam heating and the maltings floor was demolished. Talisker distillery is famous for its stills’ swan neck lye pipes: A loop in the pipes takes the vapour from the stills to the worm tubs, so that some of the alcohol condenses before it even reaches the cooler; it then runs back into the stills and is distilled again. Skye was released in early 2015 as (another) no age statement expression in the current Talisker range. It has been matured in refill and toasted American oak casks.
The nose starts with medicinal, briny and somewhat ashy notes. These are followed by orange peel, apricots, and marzipan. In contrast to what we are used to with Talisker, this is a fairly soft and well-rounded nose.
The palate is medium-bodied quite spicy and peppery. The smoke is now more prominent, together with sweet flavours of peach and raspberries.
The finish is pleasantly warming, dry and smoky. Towards the end the smoke turns into very ashy flavours.
This is a fruity and fairly well balanced Talisker, and I admit that it might be more approachable than the standard 10-year old, but apart from having created an entry level smoky whisky I am not sure what Diageo wanted to achieve with this. This feels a bit like a low level version of the 10-year old that remains the benchmark that none of the recent NAS releases (Storm, Dark Storm, Port Ruighe, and now Skye) can measure up to. So – in other words – Talisker Skye is good to be tasted once, but probably just once.