Breath of the Isles 14, 1993-2007, Refill Hogshead 3746, 57% – Adelphi

Of course, this is an undisclosed single malt whisky. Adelphi has (or used to have) a slew of them in the ‘Breath of…’ series. Islay, Speyside, the Highlands. The only two regions not covered are the Lowlands and Campbeltown, for some reason.

I first tried this whisky at Whisky Live, back when it was still in Leiden. Based on the year of bottling for this one, it must have been 2007, possibly 2008. And while this is technically an undisclosed whisky, consensus is that this is Talisker. Back at the stand at the festival this was very explicitly not denied.

It just so happens that I like Talisker, and there’s not that much available at cask strength. Currently there’s the annual special release, but that wasn’t the case for years. Of course, there used to be the 57 North, and there’s a handful of rare releases that are way out of my league. So, things like this nicely fill that gap.

Very classic Talisker that has been tamed by a long time in a half empty bottle. There’s a whiff of vanilla in the background, but otherwise it’s all barley, oak, coastal salinity with sea weed. Also a bit of heather, a very gentle smokiness with a touch of black pepper.

The palate is far less tame than the nose. Quite some bit with a lot of dry pepper. Sharp notes of barley and oak shavings. Coastal notes of washed wood, fishing nets, but also with a heathery sweetness.

On the finish the smoke is most pronounced, and with the pepper, heather, oak and barley it becomes a true Talisker.

On the nose the smoke is so gentle I’d almost start thinking it’s Highland Park, which would still fit the bill of being a Breath of the Isles. However, the black pepper and the kick of smoke on the finish makes it all okay again.

This is one of those whiskies that if you like the distillery’s character, you’ll love it. If you don’t like Talisker generally (those people exist, I’ve heard), you won’t find another perspective here. This fits the distillery character to a tee.



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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