Talisker 27 Years (1985)

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Distillery/Brand: Talisker | Region: Islands | ABV: 56.1% | Color: Pale Straw
Nose: 22 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 88

Diageo has come up with this marketing gimmick designed to bankrupt the average whisky fan. It’s called the Special Release. Every year they release a series of expressions from their portfolio which are increasingly being priced beyond the realm of ridiculousness.

Sure there are a couple of average priced malts in there but by and large expect to take out a second mortgage if you’re planning to procure the lot.

The 2013 Special Release included, among others, a 35 year old Brora (£750), a 34 year old Port Ellen (£1500), a 37 year old Lagavulin (£1950) and this, the dram in my hand, a 27 year old Talisker distilled in 1985 priced at a reasonable £475.

Now I’m not the one to harp on about price because frankly this is a whisky review site and I feel I should stick to reviewing whiskies instead of prices. But I’d like to take a little exception here.

Now don’t get me wrong. This is quite a solid bit of craftsmanship; as you would expect from Talisker. Their Port Ruighe and Storm series notwithstanding this distillery knows it’s strong suit and plays it beautifully.

I refer to the lovely 10 year old, the 57 North, the 18 and the Distillers’ Edition. That means there is no way they were gonna screw this one up. I mean it’s been maturing for 27 years for peats sake. That’s a lot of equity to mess up.

Now this is where I have a problem. This tastes almost exactly like the 57 North or a high strength 18 or a slightly more sophisticated 10. I know I shouldn’t expect a radical new profile but paying close to £500 for something that tastes exactly like something that costs £80 can be a bit disappointing.

That being said this is a very nice single malt. Matured for 27 years in refill American Oak this has been bottled at a cask strength of 56.1%

Nose: Lime. Mild peat. Wisp of smoke. Black pepper. Hint of iodine. Mild chocolate. Understated ash. Cardboard. Wood shavings. Fresh grass. Coconut. Crisp citrusy aromas that stay on point.

Palate: Controlled lime. Lemon. White pepper. Black pepper. Chocolate. Nuts. Green apples. Pears. Crisp peat. Sugarcane. Raisins. Quite an intense delivery with the spices in full force. The sweetness takes a while to come through. Still quite nice though tends to taper towards a slight bitterness mid-palate.

Finish: Long. White pepper. Oily. Woody. Spices.

A very nice whisky which doesn’t seem like it emerged with even a bit of lethargy after 27 years in hibernation. Though, if you want to know what it tastes like I suggest grabbing a bottle of the 57 North.

Rating: 88


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