Talisker Storm Tasting Notes

Credit: widmatt

Credit: widmatt

One of my more recent fun discoveries is Talisker.

Talisker is by no means a rare single malt, it’s one of Diageo’s “Classic Malts”, so it gets more than its fair share of marketing dollars. I also put classic malts in quotes because it’s more marketing than common accepted facts. For what it’s worth, the six included scotches do hit up the major areas of Scotland so it’s not an unfair claim, it’s just a marketing one.

OK, back to the task at hand – Talisker.

Talisker is an Island single malt and the only one on the Isle of Skye. In terms of Scotch Whisky Association’s region categorization, it’s part of the Islands sub-region of the massive Highlands. Founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, the distillery’s name comes from the settlement it leased land from, a settlement owned for centuries by the Clan Macleod (the clan of the fictitious Duncan and Connor Macleod from the Highlander series!). Talisker was acquired by Diageo in 1925.

Talisker’s regular lineup features a 10yo, 18yo, 25yo, and a Distiller’s edition. I’ve had the 10yo before but none of the others, so I had a sense of the spirit of Talisker before we got started. The remarkable flavor I always take away from Talisker is their ability to capture sea salt and the ocean in their whisky. You get the smoke, you get all the hints that it’s an island malt, but no one else (to my knowledge and experience so far) has captured the ocean in a bottle.

One distinction for Storm is that it carries no age statement, which is something Diageo has been trending towards (and a point of debate in our Facebook group), and they use a mix of first-fill and refill casks.

Tasting Notes

  • Color: Dark gold
  • Nose: My favorite part of Talisker Storm is the nose, you get the ocean or ocean spray right off the bat with a hint of citrus, smoke, and sweetness.
  • Palate: You get sweetness from the get go with a bit of smoke on the backend, a reminder they’re still on an island and using peat. A little vanilla and the soft bite of pepper. There’s a bit of sharpness in it from the youth (you wouldn’t mistake it for an 18yo, but it’s not biting like a 3-yo bourbon) and some layered honey is in there.
  • Finish: Nice finish, mostly sweetness and a little bit of saltiness on the back end.

Talisker Storm weighs in at 45.8% abv, and I’m able to pick it up at my local store for $63, just $7-8 more than their 10yo.

The Classic Malts Selection 2010 Limited Edition Releases

If you’ve ever walked into a liquor store and seen several scotches lined up on the shelf, you’ve probably seen The Classic Malts Selection. Sometimes they’re on a little wooden pedestal, each bottle with a small plaque that identifies it (as if you couldn’t tell from the bottles) as one of The Classic Malts, sometimes they’re just shown together on the shelf. If you’ve ever wondered what makes them Classic Malts, it’s because the original set of six were all owned by Diageo. The original were Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie, Cragganmore, Oban, Talisker, and Lagavulin. Since then, the Classic Malts lineup has been increased to include Caol Ila, Cardhu, Clynelish, Kockando, Royal Lochnagar, and The Singleton of Glendullan. Again, they are all owned by Diageo, which is why they were added to the Classic Malts selection. 🙂

This year, they’ve also released some 2010 Limited Edition releases in time for the holidays. Here’s the list along with their descriptions: Continue reading

Diageo's Classic Malts of Scotland

Diageo Six Classic Malts of Scotland

Diageo Six Classic Malts of Scotland

In 1988, the United Distillers and Vintners began marketing the “Classic Malts of Scotland” as a selection of six single malt scotch whiskies that were representative of the best Scotch whiskey available. The United Distillers and Vintners was later purchased by Diageo, who has continued the marketing campaign. The “regions” in the six classic malts of Scotland differ from the official Scotch Whiskey Association region classifications, most likely so that they could include other scotches to the list of classics.

It’s not an official designation, just a marketing one. That doesn’t stop the six from being fine scotches though.

The six Classic Malts of Scotland are:

  • Dalwhinnie 15 – Highland
  • Talisker 10 – Isle of Skye
  • Cragganmore 12 – Speyside
  • Oban 14 – West Highland
  • Lagavulin 16 – Islay
  • Glenkinchie 12 – Lowland

As you can see, Isle of Skye (part of the Island subregion of the Highlands in the SWA’s official regions) isn’t an officially recognized region and Campbeltown, where Diageo does not own a distillery, isn’t represented on the list.