Talisker. The Isle of Skye, sea salt gem.
Talisker, one of my most anticipated visits. I was so excited to be on the Isle of Skye’s sea breezed shores. I love almost all the bottlings Talisker has to offer and boy did the visit and the weather live up to the expectations. It was raining sideways during my whole visit, but I didn’t mind. This meant that the salty flavors I get in this dram every time I drink it are fully alive!
Talisker is owned by Diageo, but their use for Talisker malt has changed drastically over the last few years as popularity has increased. Just two years ago 60% of their production was going to blends, now it is the opposite and the majority is reserved for the single malts. They currently have fourteen different Talisker bottlings to produce for and more are in the works. Total capacity sits at about 3 million liters of new make spirit per year.
As most of you may know, Talisker is a slightly peated malt and they used to source all of their malt locally. Now that they use commercial maltsters and don’t really have control over where the peat comes from. They are currently making about 19 mashes per week and run an interesting mashing process. Instead of running three distinct waters, they start at the grist/water striking point of 63.5 degrees Celsius and slowly increased the temperature until it reaches about 85 degrees Celsius. The whole mash process takes about 6 hours. There are 8 washbacks that are all wood and have arms for controlling the foam. Fermentation periods last between 60-70 hours before the wash is moved to the stills. There are two wash stills and three spirits stills. As you can see in the pictures below their spirit stills are very different from the wash stills. This helps with the character and flavors they are trying to develop. Their worm tubs are located outside and they actually use the sea water to do the cooling. Due to location, everything else is pretty much done off site. All cask filling, bottling and a lot of the warehousing is done off site. There are only about 4,000 casks resting in on-site warehouses.
I was fortunate enough to try quite a few drams. I was even luckier when the tasting guide took a liking to me and let me try the 25 year old that is a company favorite. Here are my tasting notes below.
57 Degrees North- Cask Strength (57%)
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Very strong on the nose due to ABV- Fresh citrus, peat, earthy linger at the back of the nose.
Palate: Lemon and orange, creamy fudge, peat and sea salt.
Port Ruighe Talisker- Non-Age Statement released 2 years ago. Finished in port casks.
Holly’ Tasting Note...
Nose: Dark fruits, raspberry, soft peat and jammy-ness.
Palate: Salty and peat immediately with dried raisins lingering around.
25 Year Old Talisker
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Caramel corn, roasted nuts, peat and salty cracker.
Palate: Caramel apple pie, maybe even a caramel apple, sprinkled sea salt and slight peat at the end.
Next up is Glenmorangie..