Sometimes They Don't Know What They Have

It was just two weeks ago I mentioned to Your Boy, BJR that I had no interest in the Talisker 25, never have. Since then I learned of a person selling a bottle. There was just a crappy phone pic with no details. The asking price was the same as the Gov. stores (pre-tax) before it sold out last year.

My first thought was this person must be unfamiliar with the one private shop in town that’s always had it in stock for slightly less money. Then I looked closer at that crappy phone pic and did a double-take. Something looked off.

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Even before it was cool to do so Talisker bottled at a higher than usual 45.8% across their mainline. This includes all the 25yo bottled after 2010. Before that there was no 25yo in their mainline at all, but it was available as a Special Release Cask Strength sporadically from 2002. That didn’t look to say 45.8%. It looked like this could be one of those highly sought after bottles.

Over the next week emails were exchanged while I tried to make no sudden movements.

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From Whiskyfun:

Talisker 25 yo (54.2%, OB, Refill casks, 9,708 bottles, 2008)

A pretty large batch this year.

Colour: pale gold.

Nose: the difference with the oldies is very obvious, and not only because of the higher proof. It’s much more ‘coastal’, with much more notes of iodine, sea air, oysters, kelp… As for the fruity side, we left the oranges for more lemons and green apples. Also highly unusual notes of green olives that we never got in any Talisker as far as we can remember. The peat is less ‘ashy and sooty’, and probably grassier and more organic. With water (at roughly 43% to make it more comparable with the oldies): it got even straighter, on a pure mix of seawater and lemon juice. Make that a plate of oysters.

Mouth (neat): again, what’s striking is that there’s much more lemon and even lime in this ‘new’ one. Very citric and then certainly peatier than the oldies. Also very peppery, but it’s different pepper when compared with the exceptional 1952. Sharper and also more mineral.

Mouth (with water): it does not get any rounder but, interestingly, closer to the oldies, with these heavy notes of shoe polish that we found in the 1953. Also notes of fresh almonds and always a lot of lemon.

Finish: long, heavily ‘coastal’ now, with the ‘lemony peat’ striking at the end. Faint tannins (grape skin).

Comments: these recent 20 or 25yo Taliskers are all very good and except for wood type variations (there has been some sherry versions), they are all very consistent. What’s more, even if the 1952 is really out of this world, they are in the same league as the oldies and should benefit from a little bottle aging. Only one concern, though: will the corks keep as well as good twist caps (or better yet, tin/spring caps) do? SGP:457 - 91 points.

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How could I not?

Days later, still in a bit of shock.

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