Looks like I missed one! In my recent Talisker review barrage, I overlooked a bottle lurking right at the back of my cupboard, with a single dram remaining locked in its glassy chamber: Talisker Distiller’s Edition, bought and muled back from Skye itself.
I picked this one up “blind” – ironically, it wasn’t available to try at the distillery. But while on Skye I remember coming to the conclusion that the only good Talisker is an age-stated Talisker, and this Distiller’s Edition happens to list both the distillation date (2007) and the bottling date (2017), making it a cool 10 years old. Figured there was little to lose 🙂
The one undergoes a second maturation (or finish – unclear how long) in Amoroso casks, which is an Oloroso sherry sweetened with PX grapes. The idea is that you get the best of both worlds in a single barrel – dry and sweet – without needing to double dip or get crazy with marrying and blending.
Bottled at Talisker Strength (45.8%) and in a pitiful UK sized bottle, I poured the last dram and got sniffing:
Beautiful – rusty copper.
Mmm… fishy. An absolute beaut on the nose, with a surprising strawberry aroma that you don’t see very often outside of The Macallan. While all the usual Talisker 10 stuff is in there – salt, anchovies, a little spice – that strawberry is so prominent that it makes the Distiller’s Edition easily identifiable by smell alone. Some other kind of sweetness here that’s tough to place – like candy floss, but not overpowered. And at the back, a little “musty cupboard” which always goes down well!
That being said, I get somewhat of the same problem here that Glenmorangie Lasanta suffers from – just a touch too much fresh sherry in here for its own good, a layer of sherry “flavouring” that floats on top of some otherwise terrific whisky. The balance could really do with some tweaking, perhaps a slightly greater America-to-Spain ratio. Nowhere near as overkill as Lasanta, but just a little out of whack. Hoping it’s just the smell.
Where the mustiness was gentle on the nose it takes the spotlight on the taste – that antique furniture stuff I tend to enjoy. Real old man whisky. The sweetness is more subdued that one might expect, but the strawberries have made it through. If The Macallan 12 Double Oak and Talisker 10 had a baby, it would be the Distiller’s Edition. Quite spicy – cloves, curry powder – thick, oily and warming.
It was at this point that I realised I was on to another winner, particularly as I started reaching the end of the glass – and the bottle! The sense of misery that descends when I’m about to finish a bottle is a good sign that I just had something great. Bugger 🙁
Smoky, sweet and long. Perfect.
I followed my shot of Distiller’s Edition with Talisker 15, watered down to about the same level. Honestly, they’re both equally terrific, and this made the score pretty easy to determine.
Distiller’s Edition is one of the few heavily sherry finished whiskies I absolutely adore, and another terrific example of the rare handful of whiskies that can do sherry and peat properly (check out yesterday’s Glendronach Peated). It’s an expertly made drink, well worthy of its title, and good value overall.
In all likelihood the perfect winter dram. Goodness knows when I’ll get my hands on another bottle – hopefully by next winter!