So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Talisker 57° North

NAS Talisker… Hmmm….

Talisker is up there on my list of quality malts. Mentally the basic 10 is the standard against which I measure ‘coastal’ whiskies. So I’m really curious to know how a NAS Talisker adds up.

Talisker is of course on the inner Hebridean Island of Skye – beautiful island really in a barren sort of way:

It’s just a pain to get to if you drive today, imagine how hard it was to get to in 1830 when it was founded by Kenneth and Hugh MacAskill. But I suspect that was partly the reason why Skye was chosen for their distillery to start with. A succession of unsuccessful owners later, DCL (later Diageo) finally became its owner in 1916.


Some milestones in Talisker’s history:

1928: Talisker stopped triple distillation. So if you ever ever get to try a pre 1928 Talisker, well, please let me know how it was like. Better yet save me a sample.

1960-1962: A fire at the distillery destroyed/damaged the 5 stills (remember history of triple distillation)  and identical copies were made. The decision to make 5 and not 4 bellies the fact that each feature of a distillation process can have a great impact on the spirit.

1972: Floor maltings cease. Today Talisker’s 22 ppm malt comes from Glen Ord Maltings, peated with peat from Caithness. (Exactly why this is so, I have not heard a definitive reason.There may be none.). Also coal makes way for steam coils.

Maturation takes place in Skye, though new make is taken to the mainland to be filled into barrels before the whole lot are brought back to Carbost. The peculiarities of economics.


Talisker 57° North, 57% ~2013 bottling


Nose  Nose: Peat and coast. No surprise here.Fishermen’s nets, and knotted seaweed. Gusty sea winds and salt in the air. Wet wool sweaters and fishscales. So yes. Pretty maritime.Very ‘fresh’ but quite straightforward as well. Bit of muck, more peatsmoke. At the back of the nose something very woolly.

Taste  Palette: Spicy, hot and pepper. It’s spirit is Talisker for sure. Lava of the Cuilins indeed.Bit sweet, not as ‘intense’ as the old 10 I have enjoyed. Ok that calms down a bit and salt and shellfish appear. Simple stuff but excellent backbone. Warming and bracing, some wood, some cream, more malt, some peat and bitter oranges.

Finish  Finish:  Medium, salty, ashy and smoky.



Simple but straightforward. It’s essence of Talisker, indomitable despite being NAS.

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This entry was posted on April 1, 2014 by in Talisker and tagged .
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