Earlier this year Talisker added another no age statement whisky to its range: Talisker Skye. This means that whilst it may not be able to claim to be “the only Single Malt Scotch Whisky rugged enough to call the Isle of Skye its home” for too much longer (with progress continuing at Torabhaig), Talisker has found another way to cement the link between the distillery and its beloved, windswept home.
At the launch event at the Royal Canal Museum in London, just as they did at the Talisker Storm launch, they sought to bring something of the island to London through lighting, the sound of crashing waves and even a tasting out on a boat on a rather miserable Tuesday night!
The funny thing about all that is, the new expression is something of a departure from what you may expect from a Talisker. As Diageo’s Global Malts Ambassador Donald Colville and Talisker Distillery Manager Stuart Harrington explained at the launch, Talisker is all about the personification of what the Isle of Skye evokes – in many ways “lots of ‘bad’ things”: harsh mountains, coastline and sea (there’s a reason the armed forces use it for training), which taken as a whole is totally still totally gorgeous, of course. This new single malt however, is, in their own words, “a step back from all that”.
Now, for me, that’s a bit of a concern right off the bat, because I love a rugged Talisker personally, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should feel the same way. “Skye in June” might sound right up your street. It’s got to be cooler than June at MoM towers as I pour this whisky on the hottest day of the year so far!
It’s matured in a combination of refill and toasted American oak casks, with a slightly higher proportion of toasted casks.
Tasting Note for Talisker Skye:
Nose: This is sweet stuff alright, toffees and vanilla ice cream up front, almost grain-like. Becomes increasingly honeyed. There’s a little coastal influence here too, just hints of a sweet Caol Ila perhaps, with very restrained smoke.
Palate: Honeyed toasted oak, sappy wood, only a little pepper and smoke, apple turnovers and hints of lemon and lime Opal Fruits. Fennel seeds (aided by some autosuggestion).
Finish: Drying and slightly less sweet, hints of spice and smoke.
Overall: This is a sweet whisky. Our tasting with Donald, aided by pine branches, fennel seed and star anise, as well as a sun lamp, really helped in appreciating what they’re going for here though, and tease out that ‘Skye in June’ character. This isn’t anything like the well-seasoned hammer-shaped sea wave to the face the 10 year old is, instead it’s a bright day on the Isle of Skye, calm waters, sweet, vibrant and earthy flora in the air. That and vanilla. And everyone loves vanilla, right?
The concern for many whisky lovers will be that between Talisker Storm, Talisker Skye and, to a lesser extent, the slightly more expensive Talisker Port Ruighe (say ‘Portree’), the more affordable end of the range is getting a little crowded near the classic Talisker 10 Year Old.
Choice is a fantastic thing, but having seen Glenlivet 12 disappear from the UK market earlier this year, we’ll have to hope that common sense prevails here because I’d still take a hit from the Skye hammer every time personally. (That has nothing to do with the fact it has an age statement either.)
Can there be more than one?!