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Untitled1The first of the birthday whisky, Talisker Storm! This is the first of the brand we’ve had in a while, but we’re long-time Talisker fans here. We’ve had the 10y, the 18y, the Distiller’s Edition and the 57°, so this is a welcome addition.

It’s interesting to see how the whisky market has changed since we started this project a little under 4 years ago. Talisker 10y was one of the first whiskies I ever tasted, but it’s gone up in price by about 13%  since then. This makes sense – the whisky market has exploded and demand is crazy. But with any product, you’re going to have avid purchasers with a price ceiling, so turning your back on a price point can be an expensive venture. If you sell a whisky with an age on it, legally speaking everything in that bottle has to be at least that age. This means everything is sold at its worst possible representation, as a 10y single malt could contain 11+y old malt whiskies from that distillery.

And so, enter expressions with names, and not ages. This isn’t a new phenomenon – blends like Johnnie Walker have long used hierarchical names instead of ages. Many scotches mingle the two, like Jura with the Origin 10y and Elixir 12y. But more and more brands are using this technique to get to market with a little more flexibility. With a name, the only standard is what the last bottle tasted like; there’s one less legal requirement.

But, as tempting as it is to be judgy about the difference, that really doesn’t make any sense. No, there’s no age specification, but so what? Age has never meant quality. We’ve had plenty of bad crap with a number on it, and plenty of great crap with no number on it. At this point, really, it’s just another prejudice. Here’s what we thought of this named expression:

colour
Simon – slightly oil gold
Steve – gold
Goran – mid oiliness, straw
Matt – watery straw
Julia – honey
Ryan – honey, slick
Dan – oily, honey-straw

nose
Simon – swamp, peat, sharp smoke, iodine
Steve – wine, peat, might be my imagination but chocolate?
Goran – leather, smoke, wood
Matt – spicy, peaty, strong, subtle sweetness, apple, breeze
Julia – peaty
Ryan – peat, strawberry, salt
Dan – wood, a little nutty, cereal, caramel, oaky leather, slight peat

taste
Simon – smooth & powerful, campfire, smoke, fire, a little sulphur
Steve – fruity, peaty, smooth
Goran – chocolate, wood, smooth, dry, dry fruit
Matt – oily, spicy, wood, peat, tall-ship, maple tree sap, large non-unpleasant burn
Julia – smooth, powerful, peaty, harsh
Ryan – smooth, dry, smoke, sweet
Dan – warm salty wood, slightly spicy with hints of cardamom

finish
Simon – long, smoked silk
Steve – smooth
Goran – mid length & smoky
Matt – a little long
Julia – medium
Ryan – not too long
Dan – medium

splash
Simon – lighter & easier but still v good
Steve – so nice! better
Goran – n/a
Matt – much smoother, silky
Julia – better
Ryan – n/a
Dan – much sweeter, cinnamon

overall
Simon – 9.2/10
Steve – 9/10, 2nd only to Edradour
Goran – 9.5/10
Matt – 8/10
Julia – 5/10
Ryan – 7.5/10
Dan – 10/10

Talisker Storm – 45.8% 750ml – ?? – Islands

Try it? Yes! Buy it? Yes!

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