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History of Talisker
Talisker distillery was founded by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill in 1830 in Carbost, Skye. The brothers were businessmen who acquired the lease for Talisker House and the surrounding land from the MacLeod of MacLeod. Upon their arrival, the brothers immediately set about evicting the local population to make way for sheep farming and to clear land for their distillery.
The MacAskills fell a little short of success and the distillery was under the control of the bank by 1848. A series of ownership takeovers followed until stability was found under the leadership of Roderick Kemp, who acquired the distillery in 1880. Kemp expanded production capacity and brought significant success to the business. He later sold his share in Talisker and bought The Macallan distillery in Speyside but by then he had steadied the ship and plotted a strong course for the future.
Talisker was acquired by DCL in 1925 and is now part of Diageo. This Skye distillery produces one of the most recognised and beloved single malt brands in the world. Since 1998, their 10-year-old expression has been part of Diageo’s Classic Malts range but for this review, I’m going to be focusing on Talisker Skye, a 2015 release that aims to show a softer side to this famously rugged island malt.
Smell: The familiar Talisker Pepper is there, though less prominent than normal, there’s Brine also with Vanilla, Apple & Pear and a gentle waft of Smoke.
Taste: Vanilla, Orange, Apple, Pepper, Sea Salt and a touch of Smoke.
Thoughts: I confess I feared the worst with this dram. I just wasn’t sure about a no-age-statement Talisker bottling that toned down some of its famous intensity. Talisker-lite, if you will. To my surprise though, I found myself rather enjoying it. It keeps the 45.8% bottling strength which helps to deliver plenty of flavour but it definitely tones down the massive peppery hit of the original 10-year-old. Would I choose Skye over the 10? If I had to pick just one? No, I don’t think I would. But that’s the great thing, we don’t have to choose just one. We can try out as many different versions as we like. This one may dial down the distillery’s identity a little, but that doesn’t make it a bad whisky. Decent.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.