Review: Talisker Glacial Edge 45 Years Old

Review: Talisker Glacial Edge 45 Years Old

Does Talisker ever plan to stop releasing successively older whiskies? Here’s to hoping the answer is no, because the stuff coming out of the Isle of Skye continues to blow us away every time a sample arrives.

Talisker Glacial Edge 45 Years Old is the final release in the Xpedition Series (we didn’t know it even had a name), “a trilogy of whiskies inspired by the wild and its spirit of adventure. The whisky is finished in “ice-fractured oak casks,” an experimental type of barrel that I don’t think has been tried ever before.

What’s an ice-fractured oak cask?

Twelve of the Talisker distillery heavily-charred American Oak casks used to age this whisky were taken on a glacial voyage into the beautiful frozen lands of Canada’s ice fields. A specialized Cooper removed the ends of the casks, exposing them to sub-zero temperatures and biting Arctic winds for 96 hours. This allowed the extreme cold to fracture the wood, which in turn increased the surface area of the casks, altering the liquid’s interactions with the casks during the finishing period in Scotland.

The expedition to fracture the casks drew upon the majestic force of the glacier to create a whisky truly marked by the wild. This journey to the ice fields was taken hand-in-hand with Talisker’s partner, Parley For the Oceans, and led by pioneering glacier scientist Dr. Alison Criscitiello. The team traversed across wild terrain and into ice caves, where Dr. Criscitiello helped the team understand how the planet’s ecosystems are interconnected, from the glacial fields of Canada to the sea surrounding the Talisker distillery’s home on the Isle of Skye off Northwest Scotland. This is the third year of Talisker’s collaboration with Parley to support their organization’s protection and preservation of marine ecosystems globally, with a portion of the funds from Talisker Glacial Edge 45-Year-Old sales donated to support this cause.

2,455 bottles were produced, with 272 available in the U.S.

Let’s bundle up and dive in.

The nose here is light and lively, not at all the smoky, briny monster that Talisker can often be but rather laden with notes of lemon curd, fresh-cut hay, some sesame, and a light note of sandalwood. There’s sea spray and smoke here, but it’s mild and well-integrated with the remainder of the experience, which takes a turn toward its nuttier elements with time in glass.

The palate’s a delight, gentle but rich with flavor, packed full with notes of sesame, peanut brittle, and a light crunch of toasted caramel. White pepper notes build on the palate alongside a persistent salinity — light as a feather but a constant reminder that the sea shore is nearby. A light squeeze of mandarin orange on the conclusion aids a lingering finish that sees notes of iodine clinging to the tongue. Gorgeous stuff, which is, of course, just what I expected.

99.6 proof.

A / $5123 (700ml) / 

Talisker Glacial Edge 45 Years Old




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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