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Monday, February 20, 2017

Talisker 20 year old 1982 Cask Strength

I'm bringing Taliskravaganza 2017 to an end this week. Four weeks was plenty. Plus I'm saving few samples for the 2018 edition. Though the party is ending early, it's going out with a BANG!

Talisker bottled lightning with their three 20 year olds in 2002 and 2003. These three 20s—with ABVs of 58.8%, 59.7% and 62.0%—have received some of the highest scores for any Talisker from many reviewers (see the whiskybase community, LAWS, Whiskyfun, whisky-monitor and The Whisky Fedora).

For some reason only he knows, reader Cobo sent me a sample of the 1982 58.8%abv edition. Thank you, kind sir.

Distillery: Talisker
Ownership: Diageo
Region: Isle of Skye
Age: at least 20 years old (1982-2003)
Maturation: refill bourbon casks
Limited bottling: 12,000
Alcohol by Volume: 45.8%
Chill-filtration? No
Caramel colored? Not much, if any

Its color is amber, making it the lightest non-Lagavulin-12yo whisky Diageo has ever released. The nose is very fruit-forward. Melons, limes, grapefruits and lots of juicy tropical exotic things. It's also very malty. Some smaller notes of eucalyptus, dunnage, tar and horse stall. The palate is very approachable even with such a high ABV. Pink peppercorns, green bell peppers, light smoke and light florals. Some vanilla sweetness and minty candy. With time it develops an intense citrus blast, with some mango in the background. A ripple of tropical fruit runs through the long finish, along with the nose's dunnage and eucalyptus. Lots of lemons. Heath bar and a hint of smoke.

I've never had a Talisker like this before, and I probably never will again. All those fruits ring out like in a well-aged bourbon cask Highland malt. The smoke and phenols are present, but stay in the background most of the time. If I'm going to gripe ("If"?) it's that the palate doesn't match the nose's quality and complexity. Still, it does have a proper second gear. This whisky is a real treat and deserves its grade, but...

...I tried it next to another Talisker, one that will be reviewed on Wednesday. Something older, but newer.

Availability - Secondary market, and maybe a handful of European specialty retailers
Pricing - under $400 in some places, over $1000 in others
Rating - 90

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