Talisker 18 was the second ever single malt I tried, and I immediately fell in love with the distillery. When I saw the Talisker 35 Year was starting to run low on stock, I snatched one up to hold onto and open for my 35th birthday. Given that was quite far away off, a friend of mine had an open bottle and offered to pour me a dram to do this review.
We don’t know much about the maturation of the Talisker 35 Year. It was distilled in 1977. matured in a mixture of refill American oak and European Oak barrels, and then 3090 individually numbered bottles were filled at a natural cask strength of 54.6% ABV. If I had to guess, I would suspect that ex-Bourbon barrels were used in the maturation given how light this dram is (not just in color).
Region: Islands (Isle of Skye)
Outturn: 3090 Bottles
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask Type: Refill American Oak / European Oak
Age: 35 Years (1977-2012)
Chill Filtered: No
Color Added: No
Color: Pale Gold
Glass for Review: Tasting 1: Wee Glencairn; Tasting 2: Spiegelau Nosing Glass
Nose: Soft and delicate notes of bandaids and iodine. Notes of caramel, and orange zest are interwoven with old leather books and oak. The dram takes some time to open up. Letting it sit has brought out some light smoke from the burning embers of a bonfire. (22/25)
Palate: Unsuspectingly sweet, but far from overly sweet. This is not a dessert dram. The palate is soft and oily, punched with oak and pepper. That signature Talisker style is there, layered and entwined through the palate between the fierce sandalwood, peppery spice, sweet treacle, and citrus zest. (23/25)
Finish: Orange peel unravels into toffee and cinnamon, complemented by peppercorns, and brine. Not overly oaked, nor tannic. The finish lingers behind. Again, that Talisker maritime malt character comes through – iodine and wafts of delicate peat smoke. (23/25)
Overall: I had to analyze this dram over two separate tastings a few nights apart to give it the attention it deserves. The dram is a little light, lighter than I expected. The lighter sweet notes of citrus and caramel are carefully balanced with the heavier notes of oak, spices, and light peat that add depth and substance to the dram. At 35 years, it is not overly oaked and easy to drink making it hard to believe the dram clocks in at 54.6%. As with many age statements approaching 30 years and beyond, the thing I struggle with most is whether or not this dram is worth the current secondary market values. (22/25)
Average Price: $1250+