18 December 2008

Talisker 10 Year Single Malt

While Christmas inevitably brings a truckload of bad alcohol with it, it is also a time many of us reach for quality liquor to share with friends and family. As many of you undoubtedly know, I am a big fan of single malt Scotch whiskey. In fact, I have become something of a "whiskey snob" in that I won't even touch the cheaper quality blends anymore (unless to review for this site, of course). My taste was forged on Glenfeddich and has mostly stayed on the side of Speyside malts such as Aberlour and The Glenlivet. This Christmas however, I decided to jump whole-hog into one of the smokier (and most popular) Island malts, Talisker 10 Year Old.

The Talisker Distillery is located in Carbost on Scotland's Isle of Skye. In fact, Talisker is the only distllery found on the entire island. Whiskey making has been a tradition here since 1830 when Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill built the original Talkisker distillery and started making their famous malt. The original spirit (like Irish whiskey) was triple-distilled, however Talisker switched to a double-distilling method in 1928. All Talisker stills still use worm-coils instead of modern condensers which is said to give this whiskey its full-bodied flavour.

The whiskey is a rich amber-gold colour and gives off a slight peatiness on the nose. The flavour is very complex and despite its strong 45.8% abv, is very smooth on the palate. The finish is strong smoke which fades off to a fantastic sweet smokey-caramel. It is not hard to see why this whiskey has gained such a strong fanbase through the years (including Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson). I can see this particular brand becoming one of my personal favourites despite its rather hefty price tag. It is definately something all fans of single malt Scotch should treat themselves to. It is a exceptional example of the Islay style of malting. Highly recommended.

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