Jan 26, 2016

Talisker 25yo (2005 release)...

Talisker 25yo 2005 release (57.2%): It's been many years since this bottle found its way to my whisky cabinet. Too long for any whisky to stay uncorked in this household. So, Robert Burns Night it is... Let's pop open this beauty... Actually this is the second distillery edition Talisker 25yo release I will be reviewing on tire-bouchon.  The first one was a 2004 release. The whisky is bottled in 2005 at full cask strength. It is matured in refill casks and the batch yielded 15600 bottles. My bottle carries the bottle number 12682. Ooops, serious cork mishap... Bummer, it literally crumbled all over the place. Got to deal with this first before I start. Well, lesson learned: Don't wait too long to open your bottles folks... Color: Light amber, sage honey. Very thin legs around the glass. Nose: Moldy and musty first... Like entering a dunnage warehouse in a distillery filled with seriously old casks. It opens up later: Raw honeycomb, beeswax candles, cold ocean spray and just a hint of peat. Campfire, pineapple, guava and ripe Comice pears. Every time I sniff the glass I am getting something else, airing improves the whisky immensely... Vanilla and candied lemon zest now. A healthy portion of water lifts up citrusy and sweet aromas even more: Sweet and fresh orange slices, burnt sugar and wet soot. Cardboard boxes and bitter greens. Palate: Gosh... Stun gun shot..! A good old slap in the face with intense freshly cracked black peppercorns, salt and cigar ash burn. Hot... Water needed. Ok, a little better now: Thick woolen scarf bundled around your neck, sometimes in your mouth. Licking big rock salt crystals and toasted old oak staves. Sizzling... Still mouth numbing with black pepper and salt notes dominating. Beef stew, bonfire on the beach, wet sand, dry seaweed and old magazines. The longer you air the less peppery it gets. Finish: Very long... Black pepper, salt but also with some refreshing cold pear slices now.


Overall: A very powerful old style whisky. Muscular, bold and big. And wow, it is hot... Talisker on steroids, maybe a little too peppery for my taste. Interesting to see how those refill casks kept all the sharp and peppery notes like it is still a young Talisker but allowed the peaty notes to take the back seat throughout all those years. Well, actually you miss that peat balancing the strong the peppery notes in this case. On a different note every time I taste an old Talisker (distilled before mid-eighties) I am getting these waxy notes we usually identify with Brora or Clynelish. I don't get them in later and contemporary bottlings from the distillery whatsoever... Anyway after double-checking my old tasting notes from last spring I think it is safe to say that I would definitely prefer the 2004 release over this one but let's be real now: It is a 25yo Talisker and I have the full bottle in my cabinet. No complaints here... I will be sipping this bad boy for a long time and we better get used to each other. Speaking of keeping it around long I have to find a way to take that cork piece out of the bottle though. Bottom half of it fell into the bottle while I was trying to negotiate with the broken cork cap. Well, it looks like an impossible task now but I will need to try again pretty soon. Let me know if you know a good trick for that...