...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Taliskravaganza! Day 4: Talisker 23 year old 1982 MacLeod's Vintage

Day 1: Talisker 10 year old
Day 2: Talisker 57º North
Day 3: Talisker 1993 Distillers Edition
Day 4: Talisker 23 year old 1982 MacLeod's Vintage

Thank goodness my cold is fading out.  My nose and palate are back in time to experience today's Talisker:  The 1982 MacLeod's Vintage (aka Talisker).

So how do I know it's Talisker, other than by copying down other people's guesses?  Ian MacLeod is the bottler, Clan MacLeod called the Isle of Skye home for generations, and the MacLeod Vintage bottle labels all have the Dunvegan Castle on them.  Dunvegan (Fort Vegan?) Castle, home of the MacLeod chieftains, sits on the Loch Dunvegan shore in Western Skye.

And......Talisker is, at the moment, the only working distillery on the Isle of Skye.  (It would have been funny if he'd stuck Loch Lomond malt in the bottle, but it probably would have been an insult to his ancestors.)

Distillery: Talisker
Independent Bottler: Ian MacLeod
Series: MacLeod's Vintage
Age: November 1982 - June 2006 (23 years)
Maturation: ex-bourbon cask
Cask number: 2548
Bottles: 186
Region: Isle of Skye, Scotland
Alcohol by Volume: 46%

Sampled neatly in a Glencairn glass, sample purchased from Whiskysamples.eu

The color is a light gold.  I doubt that much, if any, e150a was added.  The nose......woo, very farmy. Like, straight up manure.  Manure by the sea.  A solitary cow just crapped in the sand.  Digging beneath the patty, I find tropical fruits (papaya and mango).  A stark oceanic Talisker note follows, think fish, seaweed, and boat exhaust.  Then rotting apples, fresh plums, and vanilla extract.  With a lot of time and air, out comes blood orange juice and geraniums.  Uh oh, here's the old Talisker 10 in the palate.  Lean, light peat, light black pepper, light exhaust, and sea salt.  Peach juice, leather, simple syrup.  The farmy notes edge in here.  Some toasty cereal grains.  Not fully tamed after 23 years, so there's still some bite to it.  Peat and sugar notes grow with time.  Peach and tropical fruit juices in the finish.  Some Juicy Fruit gum, orange hard candy.  Pepper and moss.  A decent length.  Tartness gradually grows with time.

First, a toast to old school indie Talisker.

This isn't complex whisky nor does it taste particularly old.  The palate is very simple, but it represents the type of Talisker that some of us often long for.  It isn't gussied up in refreshed oak.  It can be pretty raw and rough hewn.  The nose announces that this whisky is for farmy fans only, and the rest of it follows suit.  So if you can find a bottle or sample of this, keep in mind that it appeals to specific preferences.

According to whiskybase, this used to sell for 60euros when it came out in 2006-2007.  An independent 23 year old Talisker today......how much would that cost?  200euros?  300euros?  The 18 year old '85 MacLeod's is selling on a German site for 190euros.  Just goes to show that my whisky obsession started a few years too late.

Availability - None?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 90


  1. Hi Michael, good to see you diving deeper into Talisker. Indie Talisker are hard to find and they only seem to appear within certain periods if you check out the bottlings of DL (Tactical) and others. I never tried that particular one, but i had some very nice from GM, DL and Cadenhead.

    1. You'd gotten your mitts on one of the Cadenhead green bottle Taliskers right? I remember seeing the G&M "Secret Stills" Talisker a few years ago. It looked pricey but sounded good. And there's a 10yo Tactical floating around out there as well.

    2. Yeah, the Cadenhead one is great, but also the 1974 and 1982 Tacticals are fabulous. Today I was able to taste a 1958 GM Golden Eagle Talisker but it I was a bit dissapointed. Maybe I had too high expectations. It lacks ooomph and the typical Talisker style... maybe the profile changed from the late 50s to the early 70s... As far as i know they stopped using their own malting floors in 1972. There is quite a gap when it comes to 60s Taliskers.

    3. Wow, you're not kidding: whiskybase has 29 Taliskers from the '50s and one from the '60s. I wonder if they upped the peat content at some point in the seventies. Or maybe in the '50s, with limited instrumentation, they went with whatever malt they had.

    4. Well... i guess it has something to do with the fire in 1960 as well as the distillery wasn't producing again until the end of 1962. Maybe they concentrated on providing material for the blending industry and did not want to give away casks to IBs. That may be a reason for the lack of 60s Taliskers...

      For the profile change... well i really think it should have something to do with the malt they received from 1972 on.

      Next week I also should get my hands on a 1953 Tali from GM and I am really interested in comparing it to the 58 one regarding the amount of peat and sherry involved. I will let you know then :)

    5. You're right about them losing two years to the fire. I forgot about that. I'm sure those peksy blends are to blame for the dearth of '60s IBs! Did you get those Taliskers via an auction or are there still stores with epic dusties out by you?