When I started drinking whisky, about 15 years ago, we went straight from Glenfiddich 12 to Talisker 18 and Caol Ila 18. Let’s say I’ve never been sensible about whisky, or money.
Anyway, back then this whisky made tremendous impact because it was way out of my league. Not financially, as it appeared (back then it cost around € 60), but my friend TT and I skipped so many steps on the way there that we appreciated it, but I doubt we appreciated it enough.
Back then this was a whisky that scored high marks in everyone’s league, with The Whisky Bible (we used that as a reference back then) giving it around 90 as well. If memory serves that is…
Fast-forward a decade and a half, and here we are. Recently this current release of Talisker 18 was discounted from € 100 to € 75, and a few friends and I decided to split a bottle to see how this holds up now.
Some information for the years in between: Quality of this whisky declined significantly around 2010, and then picked up again a few years after. I remember it making an impact again in 2013 when I visited the distillery with my wife and newborn.
The nose starts off gently. Which, in this case, means a bit thin and watery. There are some hints of smoke, oak and the quintessential black pepper, but it’s very thin. Some wood pulp, slightly briny and crushed black pepper. After a minute or two it gets going a bit more with increasing richness, with lots of dry malt, a hint of pine too.
The palate continues the streak of richness from the nose. Quite peppery and with some bite because of it. Lots of malt and oak, some honey and a gentle smokiness. Apple crumble, the apple being dried with a touch of bitterness from the seeds. Surprisingly dry, in total.
The finish is surprisingly coastal, with quite some salt. More smoky and more oak, with the crushed black pepper pushed back a little bit.
Well, the first sniff was worrying and disappointing. Lucky, if you give this a minute or two the quality of everything that’s happening comes into view. The nose develops awesomely, and the palate and finish show a lot of depth and prove that this is still a whisky to be reckoned with.
Absolutely solid stuff and, if I’m totally honest, in the current market this is an insanely high quality dram for € 100. If you can get it cheaper in a discount, there’s no reason not too, if you can afford it.
I’m a tad torn between 89 and 90 points… Erring on the side of caution… Now let’s empty this bottle!
Talisker 18, 45.8%, released in 2019, available for about a hundred euros.