Age: No age statement
These days it seems almost customary to release a new bottling for the travel retail market first, see if it catches on, and if so, make it more widely available. If this is what’s needed for distilleries to be able to experiment a bit more, that’s all for the best, because it gives us drams such as Talisker Dark Storm.
Part of the range of Talisker NAS whiskies, Dark Storm is the more raucous sibling to Talisker Storm. After all, if you have a Storm that’s relatively successful, why not make it a bit Darker and more mysterious? The darkness in this case is provided by the heavily charred oak that Dark Storm has been matured in. These casks add some extra spice and smokiness to the already pungent distillery character. Think of this as a Talisker on steroids, an extra fierce offering from the Isle of Skye. If you like other Taliskers, Dark Storm will not disappoint.
Nose: Not very outspoken, with subtle notes of raisins, vanilla and wood smoke. These are complemented by nectarines sprinkled with a generous helping of that typical Talisker black pepper. Aromas of hazelnut and toffee take over, slowly fading into scents of dried shellfish, and just a hint of tar.
Palate: Spicy, as more peppercorns come rolling in. The charred casks have left their mark, like hot cinders and ash from a campfire being thrown everywhere. Flavours of smoked kippers and toasted walnuts take centre stage. They suffuse into a sweet yet earthy profile, with notes of honey and dried fruit enriching the palate. Lastly, a gust of liquorice drives Dark Storm towards the finish.
Finish: This is where Dark Storm really shines. The finish is not even that explosive, but the aftertaste lingers on for what seems like forever. Smouldering and savoury, with a decidedly roasted aftertaste, Dark Storm has left the best for last.
Verdict: Dark Storm is another good offering from Talisker, a distillery that rarely disappoints. Compared to the 10 year old, Dark Storm adds an extra layer of intensity and smokiness, substituting freshness for ferocity. The heavily charred casks have given the spirit an extra layer of spicy richness, enhancing all of the characteristics that Talisker is known and loved for. But although Dark Storm is a good dram, it would be a stretch to call it amazing. All things being equal, I certainly prefer it over Talisker 10 year old. But things aren’t equal, with Dark Storm selling at a significantly higher price point, leaving me on the fence about which whisky I would rather buy. Perhaps I’d opt out of the contest altogether and go for the excellent Talisker Port Ruighe instead. Either way, Dark Storm fits right in with the distillery’s range, so if you’re a fan of Talisker whiskies, Dark Storm is bound to please.