...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Three Talisker 18s: An introduction

Diageo doubled the breadth of the Talisker range, from two to four, in 2004, by adding an 18 year old and a 25 year old to a line that had only included a 10 year old and the Distillers Edition. While the 25 year old was aimed for the ultra-luxury market, the 18 offered Talisker enthusiasts a way to ascend the consumer's ladder for a smaller premium. The 10 year old was about $40, while the 18 year old cost $80. That opportunity ended abruptly when Diageo hoisted the 18's price to $150 in 2012. This increase met with widespread grievance from customers and some retailers, as one of the best deals in the single market was gone.

New packaging, from boxes to labels, came with this price increase, so the whisky itself was not only more expensive but it looked different. I had been a very vocal devotee of the 18 year old in its previous livery, so I was curious when three whisky friends from different parts of the world told me, separately, that the "new" 18 year old was not nearly as good as the "old" one. And I wondered, "Had a change in recipe been partnered with the new visuals?

I dare say, 2012 is now a long time ago. And I'd been waiting to do a comparison of Talisker 18s since then, but I didn't know how.

My cupboard included one bottle of the 18 in its new packing, purchased for me by my wife. That was probably the last whisky bottle she bought for me because we both later agreed that more whisky bottles is not what our household needs.

Two years ago,  I discovered to my great surprise that I had saved a sample from my last old-label 18. It wasn't even in my whisky spreadsheet, so I had discovered a secret I was trying to keep from myself.

That then inspired me to scour the European auctions for an older bottling of the 18, specifically a 20cL bottle (one of the great bottles sizes, if not the best), and found just the one.

So there were three. One bottled in 2006, during the 18 year old's early years. One from 2011, just before the pivot, and one from 2012, just after.

The comparison was scheduled for late February 2020 but I could no longer fend off the anticipation. The tasting was moved to the day I write this introduction. In two days, I will post the results.

No comments:

Post a Comment