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Talisker 20-year-old 1981

Overall rating
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Stated Age
20 years old
Sherry Casks
Number of bottles
62.0 % Vol.
700 ml
Added on
08 Jan 2008 12:00 pm
Non-chillfilteredCask Strength

Average value

€ 2529.67

157 × in wishlist

360 × member ratings

388 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Talisker 20-year-old 1981

29 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 93.71 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. Andytka3 scored this whisky 92 points Connoisseur

    N- Lovely red hue. Complex with a lot going on, initial impression of sulphury, husky baked malt, cereal cookie and ashy with mineral, then toasted wheat bread with dried fruit raisins jam, underlay with perfum-y nail polish. Evolved effortlessly to minted butter, lightly soaked brandied raisin, whiff of leather. Prominent minty notes probably only sign of the high strength here, gracefully soft despite at 62%. Fresh ginger bread with salts emerged with hint of oxidized sherry.

    P- Bold and masculine, firm coat of waxy boiled dried fruit with restrained sweetness, lush of ashy charred wood on the retro-hale.

    F- Long, delicious, togarashi mix with lasting ashed umami spiciness.  Would be perfect if with a pinch of bitter-ish sea-salt...
    • Nose
      95 95
    • Taste
      93 93
    • Finish
      90 90

  4. jocmueller did not rate this whisky Expert Senior

    Bottle # 1667 sold empty at ebay.

  5. jocmueller did not rate this whisky Expert Senior

    Bottle # 3660 sold empty at ebay.

  6. lincolnimp scored this whisky 95 points Connoisseur

    After last nights Port Ellen peat fest I thought I would continue the theme with some peated sherry monsters as follows in a mini H2H with some saved samples.
    https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/5622/brora-1972-dl-brorageddon 93.93p

    https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/15343/caol-ila-15-year-old 93.98p
    https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/1215/talisker-20-year-old-1981 93.84p
    Talisker 1981 20 year - 95 points
    Caol Ila 15 year Mangers dram sherry - 94.5 points
    Brorageddon 94 points (perhaps 93.5 is about right)
    Basically they at all excellent.
    See https://www.whiskybase.com/contribute/group/73/topic/16768/the-head-to-head-whisky-thread-for-tastings-h2h?page=3

  7. Dram Dracula scored this whisky 93 points Expert Senior

    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. 

  8. Owidram scored this whisky 95 points Expert Senior

    Perfect Peaty sherry combo. Alcohol is integrated so well.

    Damn good. White pepper. Meat. A lot of peat.

    Very long and clean finish. A bit of sulfur yet not disturbing. Oranges too. Salted, maritime.

    Excellent, magical dram.

  9. ctu scored this whisky 94 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
      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
      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
      Long, perfect woody flavors and ash remains in the end

  10. Rom scored this whisky 93 points Expert Junior

    Beeswax nose, encaustic, light black pepper, pineapple. The alcohol is perfectly integrated, the smoke of fire of wood (chimney), the precious wood and the orange. In the mouth the alcohol is incredibly integrated, it is difficult to believe that it is 62 °. The attack is sweet, Talisker pepper is present without being nag, always orange, a veil of turpentine. What is especially striking is its extreme drinkability. In the end, the pepper disappears and the smoke settles in its place without violence, with this orange always in the background. A very delicate dram, a very beautiful expression of the distillery, a real crush.


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