On Wednesday, the Isle of Skye’s only distillery celebrated the launch of Talisker Storm by bringing the Isle’s weather, in the form of a 25 foot high interactive storm, to the banks of the Thames.
Some people were saying that a certain meteorological legend would be in attendance... So, off I scampered to bear witness as “all of the elements” of Skye’s rugged weather descended upon London: “wind, rain, lightning, fog and thunder”...
Lightning, you say? – Good, I’ve travelled 600 miles and 472 years from Skye for this...
Upon my arrival, having evidently walked far too quickly (the excitement!), I was swelteringly warm. The temptation, therefore, was to throw myself straight into The Storm – to hell with the umbrellas! Pushing all the necessary people out of the way would have made me look like a crazy person however, so instead I moseyed upstairs to partake in the other Storm. (You know, why we were there... No, not to see him; the whisky, the whisky!)
Talisker Storm – 45.8% – £39.75
Nose: Initial brine, but not as abrupt as the 10 Year Old Talisker, quite creamy by comparison. Banana. Banana angel delight? Window putty, hint of sticking plasters and barbecues, citrus. White pepper develops towards the bottom of the glass...
Palate: Thick and mouth-coating with wood smoke, brine, some tin and chilli heat too.
Finish: Red chilli peppers and oak dryness with a hint of embers.
Overall: A conscious move towards a more ‘Islay’ style of whisky whilst retaining plenty of distillery character. I was recently told by a Diageo ambassador at the Whisky Lounge’s Brighton Whisky Fest (in line with all the early promotional material) that this is Talisker 10 ‘turned up to 11’. I’ve tried Storm a number of times now and it just isn’t. Spinal Tap jokes creep into far too many of these things, appropriately though in this case: 10 is already the highest number. Storm is however a more complex Talisker, and a good one too.
Stepping out onto the balcony, I spotted Joel and Neil from caskstrength.net who wrote an excellent piece on Talisker Storm a while back - then, right next to them, I caught sight of the man himself: Mr. Michael Fish MBE. This is a man whose mere presence is front page news (without a single mention of the event being necessary!).
Having successfully wormed my way in to get a photo, I was now left in the awkward situation of making small talk with the great man, who was clearly more interested in conversing with the lovely ladies whose conversation I had completely interrupted.
Pathetically, I offered "Was it an early start for you today?". He gave me a look that suggested that my question was rather patronising, that he wasn't that old and that I was indeed very young and probably quite silly. Of course, he answered the question like a consummate professional regardless. (10am, if you were wondering.)
Having quite enjoyed watching other people getting completely soaked ('stuff' happening to other people = funny), I was quite tempted to give the artificial storm a miss. What though, I asked myself, would Hunter S. Thompson have done? Hmm? Well, get some more of this Talisker first, obviously.
Having succeeded brilliantly with the first part of my new plan, I decided it was time for me to battle the elements....
More Singing in the Rain than Perfect Storm
I actually quite enjoyed the experience, with the significant exception of the fact that I was trying to hold a smile for almost the entire duration, whilst my cameraman of choice seemed not to be taking many photos at all. In fact, he had succeeded in taking a myriad of 1 second long videos whilst I stood there looking like a clown. Useless. You just can't get the
staff unpaid friends doing you a favour these days!
And so, with a pin badge in my pocket to confirm my achievement, I went to make my exit. My girlfriend was waiting for me and my dinner was probably getting cold (I had dropped the Hunter S. Thompson pretence by this point).
- Would you mind speaking on camera?
- (Thinks of dinner) Yes...
- Oh great, please stand over here.
- But... I just said that I would mind...
Classic misunderstanding (although I was correct).
So I’m not in this video below... but I did still meet Michael Fish, oh yes.
Just before I did finally disappear, with darkness having drawn in and with the area bathed in blue light, they started playing this through the sound system that had been providing the thunder all evening:
Epic. Epic. Epic.
...and here is another picture of Michael Fish, possibly the best on the whole darned interweb!: