Age: Distilled in 2001, bottled in 2012
There have been quite a few changes to Talisker’s range over the past years, but its status as a Classic Malt means that Talisker Distillers Edition is here to stay. Similar to other Distillers Editions in the range, Talisker has taken its standard expression and treated it to an additional maturation in casks that previously held Amaroso sherry. This extra finish has tempered the traditional Talisker character somewhat, but also imbued the whisky with sweet, nutty flavours, resulting in a Talisker with a twist. The packaging is different too, with the usual transparent bottle replaced by brown glass, giving Talisker Distillers Edition a dark, classy look. And given that dark and classy is precisely how you would best describe this whisky, it’s about as much introduction as this Talisker needs.
Colour: Sunset gold
Nose: The usual salty seaside charm, but with an alluring sweetness to it. Yet for this bottling, Talisker’s distillery character shares the spotlight with nutty, fruity aromas from the Amaroso sherry finish. Perfumes of ripe orchard fruits fade to macadamia and Christmas cake. Both less smoky and less spicy than Talisker 10 year old, the Distillers Edition appears mature beyond its 10-and-a-bit years.
Palate: Much more maritime than the nose would suggest, but in a restrained, sophisticated way. There’s a great depth to this Talisker, as mellow, earthy notes perform a balancing act with rich candied fruit. Flavours of cocoa nibs and praline suffuse into notes of figs and butterscotch. Through it all, there’s a subtle wood smoke, and a hint of the black pepper so prominent in other Taliskers.
Finish: Is there such a thing as fruity smoke? The aftertaste lingers seriously long, with the peaty notes finally coming to the fore. This Distillers Edition is quite ashy, in the most pleasant way imaginable.
Verdict: What a distinguished Talisker this is. Whereas the 10 year old is a nice easy drinking dram, the Distillers Edition offers more complexity. I once completely misjudged this dram in a blind tasting, thinking it was definitely not a Talisker. While that’s primarily an indication of how little I know about whisky, it also shows how different this Distillers Edition is, with that characteristic Talisker peppercorn almost completely missing. A definite step up from the 10 year old, the Distillers Edition holds the middle ground between the charred, smoky Talisker Dark Storm, and the sweet, sumptuous Port Ruighe. With this in mind, the Distillers Edition should always be present in a flight of Taliskers, but is also easy to enjoy on its own.