Talisker is releasing a lot of NAS whiskies nowadays. And by a lot, I mean a lot. Especially if you realize it’s only one brand in a pool of many. It started about a decade ago with the Talisker 57 North, and about five years it continues with Storm, Port Ruighe, Dark Storm, Skye and I’m probably forgetting one or two.
As it seems now the Talisker 10 is less available than it was before and I’ve heard rumors that is because they (Diageo) is repositioning the brand. It’s going to come back a bit more expensive in a while.
Rumor also has it that Diageo has stopped using Talisker in their Johnnie Walker Black Label and the smoky whisky for that is now coming from their Roseisle plant. This would conflict with the general press information that the NAS whiskies are being released because of a lack of aged whisky. In a few years they should be swimming in 10 year old Talisker…
About that repositioning. I can imagine it since
a) Talisker 10 was dirt cheap. When discounted you can get a bottle for under € 30
b) It’s a cracking whisky and is easily worth more than that € 30.
Now then, the Dark Storm. I tried this as the opener for the Winter Tasting at De Whiskykoning. The Winter Tasting is the one with all the peated whiskies.
The whisky is drawn from heavily charred casks, whatever that means. As in, a lot of casks are heavily charred and it has never been something to market unless the whisky is bourbon for which it matters a lot more.
The nose is pretty gentle and there’s some fruit. Some smoke, but not an awful lot. Quite light though. Roasted malt and an ashy note. Very ‘warming’.
The palate is a bit more spicy with the typical notes of black pepper (typical for Talisker). Other spices too, with a lot of oak influence. Quite sharp, and sweet with brown sugar.
The finish mellows quickly, with a sweet, sugary flavor. Oak, fruits and spices. Not too long and the ashy note is back.
This, in a way, is a pretty decent whisky and I can see where it’s different from regular Talisker (10) and Talisker Storm (without the ‘Dark’). It’s a bit sweeter and more mellow than the latter, and a bit more oaky than the 10 year old.
The vast drawback this whisky has, as do all the NAS Taliskers that are not cask strength, is that the 10 year old is cheaper. Also, it is better. All Taliskers have that drawback, that they have to overcome the vast shadow of the 10 year old, which is about the best value-for-money whisky money can buy.
Talisker Dark Storm, Heavily Charred Casks, 45.8%. Look for prices online, since it varies from € 50 to € 85 somehow.