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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Talisker 15 year old 2002, Special Release 2019

πŸ₯³πŸŽ‰πŸ₯³πŸŽ‰πŸ‘» It's new whisky! New. Ish. Newish. Let's just say it's recent. πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‚πŸ₯🎸πŸ₯³

Diageo's 2019 Special Releases came and went and mostly avoided these United States. There was no Caol Ila, peated or un. There was 14 year old Cardhu and 12 year old Cragganmore, which is so unhip that it's almost hip. In fact it's one of the least sexy batches (no Brora! No Port Ellen! No thousand-dollar grain whisky!) yet.

I missed out on last year's allegedly awesome 8-year-old Talisker, so I was happy to get in on a bottle split of this year's 15-year-old Talisker. That was before I realized this 15 was entirely from "freshly charred American oak hogsheads" (per the press releases). Being that there are more than 42,000 bottles in this release, Diageo either did a whole lotta rejuvenating or went deep on new oak (~200 casks) in 2002.

May this whisky succeed despite the great effort to smother the Talisker spirit!

No Tauntauns were harmed in the production of this photo.
Distillery: Talisker
Ownership: Diageo
Region: Isle of Skye
Age: at least 15 years old (2002 - 2018?)
Maturation: "freshly charred American oak hogsheads"
Outturn: 42,222!
Alcohol by Volume: 57.3%
Chill-filtration? ???
Caramel colored? ???
(from a bottle split)

The nose is quite the candy shop: cinnamon, mint, Big Red gum, Juicy Fruit gum, Haribo bears, toasted marshmallows and cotton candy. Limes + coconut cream = piΓ±a colada. And a little bit of ocean-y peat. Meanwhile, the palate is much less sweet than the nose leads on. Ginger, toasted oak, toasted coconut and mellow peat smoke are right up front. A mocha-like note (similar to Westland's malt of all things) and sweet lemons are in the background. The finish is similar to the palate, albeit a little tangier and sootier.

DILUTED TO ~45.8%abv, or 1½ tsp per 30mL whisky
Limes, cinnamon, flower blossoms and some mild vanilla on the nose. It's a little smokier and Talisker-ish at this strength. The palate is better balanced. More cayenne pepper, less sugar. More limes, more moss, more salty peat. A little bit of pickled ginger. Again, the finish matches the palate, with a little more sweetness.

Though this is indeed a unique Talisker expression, was anyone actually asking for such a creature. The neat nose is quite, uh, quite. Sort of like one of William Lumsden's noodlings, I suppose. It's all MUCH preferable when reduced to classic Talisker strength (45.8%abv / 80 UK proof) as the coconuts and sugar jump ship.

Not a lot of Talisker in this Talisker for Talisker enthusiasts. But overall the whisky is better than I'd expected (especially when diluted), topping the Skye, Storm and Port Ruighe bottlings, while falling short of all the age-stated regular releases. But never fear, Thursday brings an even less vital Talisker...

Availability - Europe, whatever that may be as you read this
Pricing - €110-€140
Rating - 84 (diluted only)