Monday, April 28, 2014
The Speakeasy: K&L's 5 year old Talisker
It's highly unusual to find independently bottled Talisker's that actually use the name of the distillery on the bottle. Most distilleries don't care if indie bottlers use their names, but a few (Talisker and Glenfarclas for example) don't allow it. Usually the bottlers say something else that makes it obvious where the whiskey is from like Isle of Skye Whisky (Talisker being the only distillery on the island). Somehow, though, K&L got an indie bottling with Talisker's name right on the label, which is no small feat.
Branded The Speakeasy, this whisky is a five year old Talisker distilled in 2008 and bottled by Douglas Laing. I'm not usually a sucker for packaging, but this bottle has a fun label. It's got an old looking script, more 1890s than 1920s, with a keyhole cut out through which you can see a scene drawn on the inside of the back label. Very cool. But how does it taste?
The Speakeasy Talisker 2008, 5 yo, 58.2% ($60)
I really like the nose on this. It's peppery and herbal with the smoky mezcal notes that you sometimes get on young peated whiskies. Compared to that full nose, the palate is a bit thin. It's got lots of that Talisker style peppery peat along with a squeeze of lemon, but it's got little in the way of mouthfeel; it feels thin and dissipates quickly. The finish is suitably peated.
This is a fun and bold whisky, but it's very young. You can't expect much complexity in a five year old, and it doesn't deliver much. I did a side by side with another young, peated K&L selection, the heavily peated Young Bladnoch which is pretty close in price to the Talisker. Overall, I preferred the Bladnoch which had a bit of sweetness to balance its peat, and lacked some of the new makeish notes of the Talisker, even though it's a comparable age (or maybe even younger). Overall, the Bladnoch had a fuller palate and a stronger mouthfeel. Still, the Talisker is a decent malt, brash and peaty if not much else.