175 years is a long time. It’s even more impressive when a product has stood the test of time virtually unchanged. You better give a round of applause to Scottish island whisky Talisker for completing such a feat!
But how did it all come about to endure such a long-standing piece of history?
In 1830, two brothers Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill founded the distillery and ran it until the death of Kenneth in 1854. Three years later the distillery is sold to Donals MacLennan for £500 but soon found it difficult to make the distillery viable, and agrees for Anderson & Co. to take over in 1867. Unfortunately, John Anderson was imprisoned in 1879 after having sold non-existing casks of whisky and Alexander Grigor Allan and Roderick Kemp too over a year later. After the departure of Kemp and the death of Allan in 1895, Thomas Mackenzie (Allan’s business partner) took over and merged Talisker Distillery with Dailuaine-Glenlivet Distillers and Imperial Distillers to form Dailuaine-Talisker Distillers Company in 1898. In 1916 however, Thomas Mackenzie passed away and the distillery took over by a consortium consisting of, among others, John Walker, John Dewar, W. P. Lowrie and Distillers Company Limited (DCL). 1960 saw the distillery catching fire incurring substantial damage. It took two years for the distillery to re-open with five new identical copies of the destroyed stills.
Over the next 50 years, Talisker has grown to be one of the most recognised and widely available malt whiskies around, releasing new and rare expressions every few years.
But how does Talisker come about?
Talisker’s water comes from springs directly above the distillery and uses malted barley bought in from Glen Ord. Despite only being distilled twice, there are still three stills located at the distillery dating back to the period before 1928 when Talisker produced triple distilled malt whisky.
So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Talisker 10yr – 45.8%
Whispers of smoke on the nose with hints of sea salt and citrus coming through. Rather light on the palate, with a thick texture of peat and iodine that creates a lingering, fresh finish.
Talisker Storm – 45.8%
Spice on the nose with hints of smoke and honey. A rich beginning on the palate, with a spicy kick following and sea smoke hitting the finish. Long.
Talisker Port Ruighe – 45.8%
Smoky notes on the nose with a ripe fruit following. A peppery beginning on the palate, but develops a peat flavour that mixes smoke and dark fruits. A lingering finish.
Some great drams to enjoy on its own, or possibly used in one of these –
11/2 bar spoons demerara sugar
3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
10 ml Bottlegreen spiced berry cordial
10 ml Benedictine
50 ml Talisker 10 Year Old Whisky
1 cinnamon stick
Add the sugar, bitters, cordial, Benedictine and a dash of Talisker to the glass. Stir for 1 minute with a barspoon to dissolve the sugar and blend the bitters, cordial, Benedictine and a small amount of Talisker, then add 1 ice-cube and stir for another minute. Continue the gradual dilution by adding the rest of the Talisker and 2 more ice cubes and stir for 2 minutes. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
There are plenty more Talisker expressions to come across too, including an 18, 25 and 30 yr as well as the 57° North. With a range like this, you’ll be through the experience in no time! Come across them in a bar, or even your drinks cabinet, Talisker isn’t a bad dram at all.
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.