Scotch Watch IV - Talisker 10

Hello, and welcome back to what I may someday refer to as "the beginning of the end" while addressing a group of like-minded strangers*.

But that's not for us to worry about now. Now, we're concerning ourselves with the next episode of Scotch Watch, wherein the author tries his hand at a fine Skye single malt.

I'd been eyeing various bottles and boxes in various shoppes for too long, and I'm not afraid to tell you it took me so long to decide on a box that I managed to finish most of the rest of my single malt stock (everyone say, "hiiiiii Miiiiiike"). I'd been told to check out the Balvenie Doublewood (thanks Jenny), Laphroaig (thanks Kenny), and someone out there told me to check out the Glenkinchie. (I may be wrong about that, but admittedly, it's a challenge to keep on top of all the Glens.)

Staring at the rack labelled "Single Malts" in my (new) local liquor store, it was a tossup between this bottle, a Glenkinchie, and a Macallan 10 year old -- I can hear the Uncle-in-Law telling me I should have picked the Macallan. I actually flipped a coin which picked the Glenkinchie, but the description on the box turned me away for some reason and I chose the Talisker. I think I thought it might be a little too peaty for the only bottle I would have in my cupboard for a while. So coin be damned, Talisker won out.

The Malt: Talisker 10 year old

The Price: $60 CAD

The Taster: Yours Truly

The Box


The Bottle


The Dram


The Taste


The Swish


The Heat!


a quickr pickr post

As you can probably tell, I wasn't quite prepared to delve back into the peaty-ness of good Highland Single Malts. The Balvenie and Cragganmore were smooth and fruity by comparison. That's not so say this malt isn't enjoyable. In fact, I've since learned that Talisker 10 has won six IWSC trophies for "Scotch under 12 years old". I guess that makes it some sort of Scotch tween. Either way, it can't be that bad.

To sum up: Smoky, peaty, and with good heat. I won't try to comment on any of the after-tastes, since neither my vocabulary or my nose are equipped for such things, but I'll say that this was probably a good bottle to buy before jumping into the Laphroaig or the Lagavulin.

All in all, I think I'd give this a 6 out of 10.

And as always, the telephone lines are open for your recommendations. Can ScotchCon be far off?

*bloggers, alcoholics...whatever.

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Posted bythemikestand at 9:37 PM  

6 stepped up to the mike:

Megan said... 9:32 AM, August 26, 2006  

Ugh. I can't even drink it. Bad college experience. We went on a tour of Scotland (years later) and visited a distillery or two. Had to give my free tastings to my dad, who very much appreciated it.

Christine said... 8:38 PM, August 26, 2006  

i'll be staying tuned, as the husband is always looking for a good dram of scotch to hold/drink.

jenny said... 9:23 AM, August 28, 2006  

Hmm. I'm just not a fan of the super smoky scotches - maybe I should try the Cragganmore?

And I'm all for ScotchCon, although it doesn't have quite the ring that TequilaCon does. But I'm pushing for Toronto in '08, so who knows...?

themikestand said... 11:42 AM, August 28, 2006  

megan: Ironically, when I visited Scotland in the mid 90s, I wasn't the scotch fan I am now. Clearly I didn't get the most out of those experiences back then.

Christine: Come east. Tell Bob to bring a bottle and we'll get soused over a night of taste testing (and wife-repelling).

jenny: I'm not sure I can really differentiate between smoky and peaty... You and I would be prime candidates for one of those hand-held scotch tastings where they tell you what you're tasting and you nod sympathetically and try to (re-)program your taste buds.

I think I'll try something milder next time (something between Cragganmore and Arran, the latter looking very watery). Cragganmore I found VERY good. Highly recommended.

Anonymous said... 12:38 AM, November 24, 2006  

Talisker is a pretty big malt - if you're not a big fan, or if your pallet is not well developed (yet) you might find something like The Balvenie Doublewood, or my personal favorite, Aberlour A'Bunadh. The A'Bundadh is sweet and sherryish (like most good Speyside scotches) but has a lot of complexity - much more than a Cragganmore. Think sweet, fruity, malty, a little hint of orange and zero peat. It's also cask strength, so you're better off to water it a bit (think .25 oz per shot). If you are looking for an "entry-level" peaty scotch, I'd try the Highland Park 12 year old. It has a hint of phenol, like the Talisker, and a bit of smoke, but it really tastes of honey, grassy, nutty and spicy with a smoky, sultry finish. It's one of my favorites too...

themikestand said... 9:01 AM, November 24, 2006  

anonymous: While I'm happy to take your recommendations (the Doublewood is on my wish list, but Highland Park and Aberlour was not), I'm saddened that you didn't leave your contact information (i.e. blog, website, whatever you're doing with your scotch knowledge) -- but such is life, I guess. When I try out my next new bottle, I'll give a nod to anonymous commenters.

Also, I think that I should have aimed a little more age in the Talisker and it might have made a difference.

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