Talisker 10 Year Old


One of the most fascinating things about whisky is the rich history which surrounds it. Many of Scotland’s distilleries have been around for over 200 years and there’s many a story intertwined with their own. I thought I’d maybe delve into that a little bit over the course of the next few reviews. So with that in mind, let us look to the Isle of Skye and Talisker distillery.


Talisker’s story is somewhat rooted in a particularly dark period of Scotland’s past. Following the Jacobite defeat in 1746 the traditional highland way of life was changed forever. The authority of clan chiefs was outlawed, highland dress banned and land stripped from Jacobite supporters to be redistributed to those loyal to the crown. The years that followed saw the new landlords drastically increase rent, forcing many tenants from their homes as they struggled to keep up their payments. The time also saw the rise of mass sheep-farming and it wasn’t long before profit-hungry eyes saw the potential in the land and set to forcibly evicting thousands of families. The isle of Skye was not exempt from all this, far from it. In the 12 years from 1763 to 1775 some 20,000 people emigrated. In the 40 years following 1840, 1740 ‘writs of removal’ were served involving some 40,000 people.

In 1825, brothers Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill of Eigg bought Talisker house and the adjoining lands from the MacLeod of MacLeod. They immediately set about removing tenants to make way for both sheep and a much grander scheme – whisky. Talisker was built in 1830 while all around it people were forced from their homes. Many headed south to the cities, where poverty and disease were rife. Many set off for the new world of North America, many died in the attempt. To this day, much of the highlands and islands of Scotland remain barren and empty, stripped of the rich life that once thrived there.

As for Talisker, things didn’t work out too well for the MacAskills either and by 1848 the distillery was under the control of the bank. A variety of owners came and went over the next 30 years until it was bought in 1880 by Roderick Kemp and Alexander Allen, who ushered in better times and by 1898, Talisker was one of the best selling malts in the country. Ownership would change again in 1916 when a group made up of John Walker & Sons, John Dewar, W.P. Lowrie and DCL took over. This group became United Distillers and later, Diageo.

Talisker 10 year old has been part of Diageo’s ‘Classic Malts’ range since 1988 and as such it can be found just about anywhere with a half decent whisky selection. It’s fame is well justified for a dram of Talisker is an intense experience. On the nose there’s Brine and Seaweed, some Honey & Heather, a little bit of Dark Chocolate and then lots and lots of Pepper wrapped in a wave of Smoke. The palate is almost dominated by Pepper and Sea Salt with a touch of Honey, Vanilla, Lemon and Smoke.

The ScoresAbout the scoring system

Smell: 17 / 20. A classic maritime malt character. The coast leaps out of the glass at you.

Taste: 18 / 20. Intense. The explosion of pepper and peat smoke may not be to everyone’s taste but if you like that kind of thing Talisker will never disappoint.

Value: 8 / 10. It’s bottled at 45.8% ABV, a reasonably high strength for the price. I presume that some chill filtering has taken place but there is good weight to it regardless. You should be able to find this for around £35 and at that price you can’t really go wrong.

Total: 43 / 50

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11 thoughts on “Talisker 10 Year Old

  1. Hi I bought a bottle last year when in Sky and was not disappointed easy to drink no water no ice just a lovely dram cheers to you and yours

  2. Just discovered this blog and have been catching up with some of the reviews. As a European living in the US and I can unfortunately comment on the price of the 10 years vs NAS. Talisker 10 costs in average $80 here, I can find it for about 50 Euro in Europe. Oban 14 and Talisker 10 have increased significantly in price in the USA where the demand for these good drams is very high…

    1. I think Oban 14 has climbed in price a little here too, I find it a little overpriced now. Seems to be the run of things, with distilleries releasing a younger, NAS version and pushing the price of the original up. Though I have to say, I prefer that to them replacing it altogether.

      1. Hi I enjoy a dram have you ever tried it with a drop of water just one won a tear drop I live in Scotland so plenty on demand have you ever tried Dalwhinnie winter gold very nice with a drop of water

      2. Lots of whiskies are improved by adding a wee bit of water and some are better left alone I find. Best to just play around and see what you like best.
        I tried the Winter’s Gold at the Stirling Whisky Festival and thought it was OK. I’d like to revisit it some time.

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