Talisker 1981

Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
Diageo Special Releases 2002
Stated Age
20 years old
Sherry Casks
Number of bottles
62.0 % Vol.
700 ml
Bottle code
fr France
Added on
08 Jan 2008 12:43 pm
Non-chillfilteredCask Strength

Average value

€ 2666.31

191 × in wishlist

446 × member ratings

474 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Talisker 1981

62 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 92.80 points

  1. hs305 scored this whisky 93 points Connoisseur

    [February, 2018]  After a series of old and expensive whiskies that were rather disgusting (either soapy/perfumy or spoiled by sulphur) I really need an excellent dram tonight.  So I selected this one and I think the chance of being disappointed here is close to zero.  I bought bottle no. 3995 for 107 Euro in November, 2002 (hence the price score).

    The colour is russetmuscat and the texture shows a great oiliness of many small tears that stick to the top of the glass and consolidate to a fat sticky ring that does not move at all.  Very late some bigger tears appear that do not build legs.  This promises an excellent mouthfeel and very long finish!  The nose is quite impressive on a fine spicy-herbal sherry profile with dozens of different aromas in a firm, appropriate wooden setting.  Despite the 62% abv it is not punchy at all.  The dram arrives hot on the palate (remember: 62% abv) and it immediately covers the whole of the mouth with a warming feeling, simply excellent.  One of the best mouthfeels I had for a long time and not a single minor distracting moment (like bitter, drying or adstringent notes).  The taste is multi-layered around this superb sherry profile with all the sherry-induced flavours one can dream of.  It is supplemented by a delicious spicy wooden framework and a couple of sweet barley sugars (different ones, I swear!).  Again not a single flaw that I can find.  The finish is very long and spicier than the taste with some minor bitter notes (tannins) at the very end that are rather welcomed (as a counterpart to the sweet sherry flavours) than distracting.  Some water releases even more aromas in the nose and it turns the taste and finish sweeter.  But be careful not to add too much water as the dram flattens quickly below around 48% abv.  Actually I like it best when reduced to about 50% abv.

    As expected, the chance of being disappointed by this dram is not close to but it is zero!  Another proof that most probably the best age for single malt whiskies is around 20 years (there are exceptions above and below, of course...)!  
    • Nose
      92 92
    • Taste
      93 93
    • Finish
      92 92

  2. ASWhisky scored this whisky 95 points Connoisseur

    from the nose to the finish
    come and go the flavors
    mix arbitrarily
    and excite in every mating This whisky reinvents itself with every sip

    95 out of 100 points
    yes! I'm in heaven ..wow

    1.Nase, 1. Mouth, 1. Reminder
    • Nose
      You want it fiery
      You like gentle waves
      tame wildness
      there flowing warm water
      milky creamy chocolate
      in smoky maritime environment
      soft cherries without stones
      in warm salt water
      Bites like hot pepper
      which sharpen your senses
      sweet dark tea with delicate bitterness
      spoiling your palate with depth
      splashing oranges meat
      refreshing and stimulating
      then you should drink it now
    • Taste
      milk chocolate
      soft cherries
      sweet tea sud
      Melt on your tongue to a chillicatch
      a chillicatch with fruity cherries
      Oranges and smoky chocolate
    • Finish
      like a fiery Spicy Asiatee from old wooden cups
      malt sweetness
      fresh firm apple meat and chocolate malt sweetness without finish

  3. lincolnimp scored this whisky 94 points Connoisseur

    Trying this at about 50% and comparing it to the 45% 1955 50 year Secret Stills G&M it is difficult to pick a winner.
    The Secret Stills is more succulent, and full bodied yet compared to this it is more one dimensional, probably because the 1981 has the peat/pepper/sherry combo in perfect harmony but both are outstanding malts in their own right of course.
    So difficult what is better the vivacity of the 1981 or the elegance of the 1955, I cannot decide so this is down one point to 94 and I was going to award the Secret Stills equal but as there is no distinguishable Talsiker note, 93 is fair.

  4. ColdAesthetics scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    The 89P are meant quite well for the sulfur grades, I'm rather insensitive anyway, I am a mystery to the ratings with so many participants here, sometimes you even read sulfur in the notes? In the mouth it makes up for some.
    • Nose
      Surprisingly a lot of sulfur at first and not much of it goes away, chestnut, lavender, nut oil, liquorice, damp oak, coffee beans slightly tarnished, fresh leather, anise, pumpernickel, plums
    • Taste
      Plums, bitter orange and some old cherries, matches, coffee, liquorice, bitter chocolate, cherries with pips, moist earth and wet autumn leaves, the percentages are really great, you have to say, he has power but is not fiery
    • Finish
      Roasted malt, chestnut, potting soil, medium length, a hint of salt and black pepper

  5. Calmar scored this whisky 92 points Connoisseur

    Sherry Talisker, there is a lot of sherry, the base is quite tightly packed with a barrel, but in development it still makes way for itself, and it is very dense and rich, deep, interesting.
    • Nose
      Restrained, dry, old furniture, a box for cigars, pipe tobacco, leather goods, nuts, cocoa, milk chocolate, dried fruit, creamy notes, light earthy tones, foliage in the herbarium.
    • Taste
      Powerful, rich, spicy wood, burnt rusks, prunes, sweet pastry notes, burnt jam.
    • Finish
      Spicy, warming, caramel, dark beer, burnt crackers and jams, prunes, mineral notes, pepper and lemon peel make their way through the development.

  6. ctu scored this whisky 93 points Connoisseur

    I understand now why it was one of the best Talisker bottling.
    The rich distillery character finally found the perfect wood,
    the perfect sherry and perfect maturing time. Awesome!
    • Nose
      93 93
      Very rich and complex: matured sherry, spicy oak and fruits: banana, mango, prune and cherry.
      Coffee, chocolate, Bagarol shoe polish, rubber, herbals, seaweed. But well come over the sea salty, peppery, peaty Talisker character as well.
      If it's much contact with the air goes to Port Ellen complexity.
    • Taste
      94 94
      Extremely powerful, but the 62% is absolutely not exorbitant!
      Honey sweet sherry, peat, huge oak, citruses and leather perfect wedding with the salty, peppery Talisker character, which richly presents itself! Ash, smoke, phosphorus and sulfur. The whole with very grotesque, but nearly perfect full range!
    • Finish
      93 93
      Long, perfect woody flavors and ash remains in the end

  7. Thorleifs scored this whisky 98 points Expert Junior

    One heck of a Talisker, and whisky for that matter.
    Full on nose, sherry, fruits, damp wood, very subtle peat and some struck matches. No off notes what so ever just that hint of matches that complement the whisky in a good way. Salty edge to it, not overly complex but very very nice!

    Pallet is an explosion, drying in the mouth because of the alcohol blast. But you still taste the sherry, the peat and all the rest of the goodies altho the peat is very subtle here also. Very thick and oily, like cream almost. Makes any other whisky you taste after it feel watery and thin. This is how a whisky should feel. Maybe a tad bitter in the end but still all good.
    No typical Talisker pepper for me, quite smooth in feel and a little to drinkable. Dangerously drinkable at 62% abv.

    Finish is one of the longest out there. Goes on and on and on.....and on and...
    5 minutes later, yupp, still there!

    Is it worth 1400-1900€?
    Not in a million years, prices today are insane.
    Is it one of the best whiskies on the planet?
    In my mind, yes, without a doubt.
    Bravo Talisker!!

  8. Dram Dracula scored this whisky 93 points Connoisseur

    I opened this bottle on a very special day for me because someone said "Miss this and your life will be incomplete". At 62%, it definitely stings the nostrils. Not very subtle. Very peppery, very meaty, very syrupy, very powerful, and of course quite peaty. Lots of cherry cough drops. Some sulfur but no where close to egregious. Finish is very long. This is a brutally powerful whisky that attacks all the senses. 92-93 points.

    My first born baby girl was born that day. Memories.

  9. lincolnimp scored this whisky 94 points Connoisseur

    When it came out pricewise, this was a bargain.
    • Nose
      95 95
    • Taste
      96 96
    • Finish
      94 94

  10. Teresa scored this whisky 94 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      95 95
    • Taste
      93 93
    • Finish
      94 94


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