The last time I reviewed Talisker 18yo was in 2017 [WLP83,… along with HP12 btw], and a year before that with a score of 87 [no notes]. This is a bottle I bought in 2014 for £67. Hasn’t it kept its price-point well given what we’ve witnessed of whisky prices since. Let’s see if my view of it in 2017 was particularly miserly?
N: I’d forgotten just how good this was, an oily sea-salty citric leathery fruitiness with a drier phenol level higher than remembered, characterised as salty smouldering ash. It’s more savoury than I remember it too, and with a homemade element to this as if a part-blend with Springbank and Longrow.
T: Here, we’ve a more unusual example of where the palate is easily as good as the nose. Like the nose, it’s far more phenolic [medicinal and sooty] than my memory recalls. The arrival leads to a moreish bitter-savoury~sweet cellulose-citrus dry grassy developmental chew,…. more medicinal phenols with some woody bitterness slowly becoming more creamy and woody on the turn whilst all the time maintaining its salty spirit intensity – something HP12 simply can’t do at 40%. There’s no doubt that even after 18 years of maturation, the light fruity barley spirit is still easily identifiable. That’s quite something after 18 years, and there’s no immaturity nor overbaked-ness. I’d love a 3cl of Talisker’s new make to have alongside.
F: Dry-not-drying peated finish barley sugar finish with soft echoes of what’s gone before. Adding just a few drops of water promotes the menthol-y salty malty > aniseed along with a suggestion of clove and nutmeg.
C: Currently my ‘wet the whistle’/goto dram, this is a medium-heavy peated malt that imparts little phenolic content to corrupt the next dram. It’s somewhat more predictable on the second pour, but I love it for one first dram. Currently at a bargain price too. After the 18yo, unless you are loaded, forget the official older bottlings.
Scores 89 points [I’m looking for slightly more body and length for a 90]
Check out Ralfy’s review which has since come out since I wrote these notes. If Ralfy is right, we should stock up sooner than later. On the other hand, precarious times are hard to predict and responses to them even harder as demands and fashions change with the wind.
I bought another bottle just in case [bottle review in due course].