Talisker 8 marks the return of a giant

Tom van Engelen wrote another one of his sort-of-bi-weekly posts on a bottle he found in his collection. Or at least, something that sparked his interest and urge to ramble on a bit!

This time, he tried the new Talisker 8. The only Special Release that’s affordable and actually somewhat more special than the annual Lagavulin and Caol Ila…


Talisker 8 is one of the surprises in the Special Releases of 2018. Since the release of the Lagavulin 8 for the 200th anniversary of that distillery, I don’t think that age is too young for a (peated) whisky. So when the chance presented itself to get a sample of the bottle, I did not want to let it pass. I warmed up for this tasting with a Talisker Storm from a few years ago. Actually a quite fine dram, even though it brought Talisker in full NAS mode with the Dark Storm and the Skye in their inventory too. Tasted on its own, this expression is fine. Around the 80 points mark. A notch above it. Fine stuff.

Now, on to the next one. Talisker 8 years old.

Sweetened smoke, malty. Vanilla cotton candy.

Oh my, bloody brilliant. The traditional Talisker pepper like I haven’t tasted since forever. This reminds me of my first time with Talisker. The rocks package of the 10 years old. But on steroids, obviously fuelled by the high abv. I don’t feel any need, however, to dilute this dram. Perfection on the tongue. There is obviously cask influence, first and second fill types. The balance is amazing.

Smooth but powerful. I absolutely love it. It definitely feels much more mature; if I had tasted this blind I would have gone for twice the age on the label. Which goes to show that age is not the most important when a whisky is constructed with such care as this one. Classic Talisker, this reminds me of why I loved stuff from this distillery years ago. I will turn a blind eye to the modern character of this expression.

Score: 90 points!

It’s amazing to be surprised by a whisky like this. It had been a while. And I did put in a few drops of water. I won’t score it, people will think I’ve gone berserk.

After the glass emptied I poured myself Talisker 25 years old bottled in 2004. The vintages around 1980 are magic as far as Talisker goes. Tasting the new 8 years old, I feel the distillery returns to the strong form it only truly shows in the 10 years old these days. Welcome back, old friend.

About Tom van Engelen

I’m a writer in a variety of fields and have a soft spot for whisky, mainly malt, mainly from Scotland. In other times I enjoyed a stint as editor-in-chief of one of the first whisky magazines in the world. When not sipping a good glass I like to write some more, read, watch 007 movies or listen Bowie music. I’m engaged to Dasha, I have a sweet daughter and I live somewhere between the big rivers in the middle of The Netherlands.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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1 Response to Talisker 8 marks the return of a giant

  1. Pingback: Cigars and the whisky year 2018 | Leg before Wicket

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