Origin: Isle of Skye (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Finishing in ex-Port
Added coloring: No
Average price: € 140.00
Official website: taliskerwhisky.com
A Talisker without an age statement is never a good sign, but I try to remain optimistic and taste the sixth bottling for this year’s Diageo Special Releases.
Initial maturation unknown, finished in a blend of tawny, ruby and white ex-port casks, which in this Wild Explorer pays homage to the Portuguese caravels that ploughed the relentless seas defying the elements to reach the furthest corners of the globe, with sea salt on the keel and the fire of exploration in the sailors’ souls.
And a lot of alcohol, given the strength.
And there are plenty of coastal inflections on the nose, iodine notes in profusion soaking fruit including peach, ripe apple, nutmeg and pineapple with generous sprinklings of paprika and turmeric and a touch of blood orange. Smoke of roasted seaweed and juniper, turning to Caribbean cigar over time, with an acidic note from HP sauce that has been open for a while, appearing on the length. Bright mineral and metallic note in the background. Anything but a Talisker. With water, some sweet liquorice appears and in general becomes less grumpy.
On the palate, it starts with a splash of chilli and citrus over roasted (bordering on burnt) rather bright tones into which fruit (grapes, peach, pineapple, red fruits), nuts, wood and ginger are immersed. The peat is rude and trivial, allying itself with Port to disrupt the flavours which, between sweet and sour tones, overflow in the mouth, leaving behind a trail of spices, mineral notes and salt. With water, it lulls a little, recovering the liquorice of the nose with some more sweetness.
Quite long finish where smoke dominates over spices, fruits, nuts, liquorice and bitterness.
Messy and unbalanced, perhaps too young, perhaps too much Port, perhaps just too much. At times it can even be amusing in its unhingedness, but it is more for personal whimsy and it’s really difficult to find any actual positive aspects in it. And given the nickname, maybe they knew it too. Pity.