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Talisker 18 Year Old Impressions

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What is it? 

Distillery: Talisker, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Name: 18 Year Old
Make: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Extra Info: Some claim the natural springs that provide the water used by Talisker add an extra dimension to the whisky's flavour because the water flows over peat, but this simply isn't true. Unburnt peat has surprisingly little aroma and only imparts the signature 'peak reek' when dried and burnt to produce heat and smoke that dries the damp malt.

Why did I buy it?

I bought this whisky because I enjoyed the Talisker 10 Year Old and wanted to compare it to the 18 year old single malt. It's important to note that this isn't just a Talisker 10 Year Old that has been aged an extra eight years. The age statement is only an indication of the youngest whisky contained within the bottle and is a mix of a variety of casks produced by the distillery. There may be a mix of whisky older than 18 years old within this bottle, but the youngest is guaranteed to be 18 years old, no matter what percentage of the final mix is of that age.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: Classic Scotch whisky bottle shape with a traditional style label just like the 10 Year Old expression but with gold highlights rather than dark blue. Presented in the same uncoloured glass bottle and also bottled at 45.8% ABV.

Appearance: Side by side, the 10 Year Old and 18 Year Old are near indistinguishable by colour and I think that is impossible without the use of e150 caramel colouring. Talisker obviously considers the bright gold colour of their whisky to be as important as any other distinguishing feature. Some people hate the idea of artificial colouring, personally, I would prefer it wasn't there (I don't think it is necessary) but I don't dismiss a whisky just because it is present - It is apparently flavourless after all.

Aroma: Delicate smoke and oak with something else, Fuji apple perhaps?

Flavour: Smooth entry, vanilla with building spice as it warms in the mouth.

Finish: Long, lingering peppery spice all over, but not the sudden pepper hit like with the 10 Year Old.

Would I buy it again?

No, but this is a good example of how a whisky changes as it ages. The older Talisker is less brash and more subtle than its younger sibling. The smoke is less obvious and thanks to longer interaction with the barrel, the oak and vanilla characteristics are more pronounced. The additional ageing time has also resulted in a spicier character, but with a smoother delivery. The Talisker 18 Year Old is not 'better' than the 10 Year Old because it is older, it is different. It is more expensive because it is more expensive to produce and to be honest, I prefer the Talisker 10 Year Old from a flavour-to-value standpoint. The Talisker 18 Year Old isn't getting any cheaper and I would recommend trying the Talisker 10 Year Old or one of the Talisker NAS (no-age-statement) expressions first if you have not already done so.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.

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