When I got this bottle as a gift from one of my son’s friends, amazingly enough, I hadn’t had it yet. Amazing since it is such a well-known brand. But hey! I got a bottle, and I have to say, it’s not a bad little scotch at all. To be completely honest, now that I’ve had it, it wouldn’t be my first choice (I’ll explain below), but it’s solid just the same.
What I Smell
The nose on this is a bit confusing to me. I smell an earthy, peaty component for sure. But there’s also a hint of iodine (not off-putting), and what I can only call an “oceanic” component; like a sea spray. It’s not so much that I can smell it, but it’s as if there’s a saltiness to it. And maybe it’s because of the slight iodine scent that reminds me of the salt marshes near where I grew up in East Palo Alto. Finally, I smell something akin to fresh-cut grass. It gives the whisky a youthful character.
What I Taste
Up front, this scotch is sweet, with notes of honey and molasses, but that quickly gives way to peat smoke that sort of builds up in intensity. It’s subtle at first but becomes more prevalent in the finish, and the iodine comes out near the end. Pretty cool effect. The other interesting thing about thing about the peat in this is that it lingers – a long time. I wasn’t expecting that because the peat is so subtle up front. If you like a peaty single malt, you’d enjoy Talisker.
How I Like to Drink It
Any scotch for me is going to be drunk neat, and this one is no exception, though I will add a couple of drops of water to help the aromas and flavors bloom. That done, the natural sweetness gets revealed even more, and it also slightly tames the peat smoke.
This is a solid single malt. As I mentioned above, it wouldn’t be my first choice, but that’s personal preference. I usually like very little to no smoke (Macallan), subtle smoke (Caol Ila), or a smoke bomb (Lagavulin). For me, Talisker is a “tweener.” I actually really like it – a lot – but I do know what I prefer, and while I enjoy this single malt, given my druthers, I’d get a different bottle.
My own preferences aside, I recommend trying Talisker. As I said, it’s solid.