I had the privilege of attending the (Belgian) release event of this extraordinary Talisker 41 Year Old Bodega Series. What a blast that was! In fact, this is the second release in a triptych of sherry finished malts from stocks of 1978. Last year saw the release of the Talisker 40 Year Old Bodega Series, finished on Amontillado casks from the Delgado Zuleta bodega. This release is finished on Manzanilla casks from the same bodega and is thus the oldest (and most expensive) Talisker to date. Part three is probably for 2020. With a price tag of around 3.500 EUR (well, it comes in a very nice box) it certainly is not for everyone and that it is a pity. For it is simply divine.
The nose is soft and sweet. From the first moment you realize you have something special in your glass. It surprises me how some mango skins, star fruit, banana and a single maraschino cherry precede the typical maritime notes of Talisker. Sure, the pepper and peat are there, but very subtle. There is also a fresh hint of mint in there, all the way in the back. For a moment I am transported back to my dad’s old garage, with his rusting tools, only to be whisked away to my first school day. The scent of a fresh legal pad. This is very elegant. This is sexy. I am already flabbergasted. Yet I had promised myself to be strong…
The body is fine, lightly oily. Nice viscosity. The arrival is soft, but that doesn’t last long. Immediately the typical pepper kicks in. And then it begins… tropical fruit evolves towards caramel and toffee, the pepper evolves towards a salty oyster. Then a dying bonfire turns into a delicious apple crumble pie just out of the oven. And still it’s not over. Very complex indeed. It guides you from a recently polished leather sofa via a rocky coast to a fisherman’s boat along the quay that is just unloading it’s catch of the day. Made by Sea? Oh, yeah… It keeps evolving and the best part of all: it keeps getting better. This gives palate progression a new definition.
On the deliciously long and very supple finish some smoked salmon and a leather sofa return, as does some banana and mint. But it remains a Talisker throughout.
I am speechless (well, when looking at the above you’d say otherwise, but you know what I mean). Most of the Taliskers I have tasted so far reminded me somehow of tough pirates, but this 41 years old is an elegant, sexy mermaid.