In its Special Releases for 2018, Diageo tends to toss out a few young whiskies — at cask strength, mind you — as callbacks to earlier days — in this case, when Talisker put out a number of 8 year old releases in the 1980s. This one, distilled in 2009, is aged in first-fill ex-bourbon hogsheads with “deep char.”
This expression takes the briny, island style of Talisker and really pumps up its very essence. The nose is complex, with notes of seaweed, brown sugar, and lots of bold barrel char providing a rustic maritime character. The palate is quite an assault to the senses, with gentle smoke, ripe banana, roasted chestnuts, and fresh citrus all hitting at once, creating quite the sensation. The finish is a bit gummy, with ample, vegetal notes of carrot and beets, leaving behind a difficult aftertaste.
At this proof, water is a big help, but the tempering doesn’t leave much behind to hold onto, dulling the experience into watery oblivion with even a small splash.
118.8 proof. Available only at thewhiskyexchange.com.