Whisky Advocate

Review: Talisker 25 year old (2009 release)

January 11th, 2010

Continuing my reviews of the Diageo 2009 special releases…

Talisker, 25 year old (2009 Release), 54.8%, $200
Comes across initially to me as reserved, perhaps even elegant, for a Talisker. Soothing too, with an oily texture. Quite fruity (orange, tangerine, apricot), perhaps even floral, with a delicate pastry sweetness. Then the more traditional Talisker notes kick in—brine, seaweed, warming pepper. Warming, peppery finish. A high-quality Talisker—albeit a bit reserved at times. I love its oily, viscous texture.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine release: 92

23 Responses to “Review: Talisker 25 year old (2009 release)”

  1. butephoto says:

    I have had a couple of these in previous years and they were superb. I wonder, though, if the older Taliskers lose the punch of the younger ones. I recently had a Talisker 18yo and it seems a little too reserved too.

  2. Texas says:

    It’s expensive, but $200 for a 25 year old high strength Talisker is certainly not outrageous. I wonder though if it’s that much better than the 18 (assuming one can find the 18).

  3. John: I agree, this is a standout expression for Talisker, closest of all the expressions in nature to the 10yr, my overall favorite (I cut my whisky teeth on this, so its sentimental). I recently did a side-by-side with 10yr, 18yr, Distiller’s Edition and the 25yr. I agree with the elegant descriptor of the 25, and it’s elegance born of age and wisdom, not by dressing it as something its not (hint, hint to the 2nd maturation crowd). The original is there in its rough boldness and wild seafaring ways. But time has eased the sharp lines on the face without erasing them, enhancing the character that we initially fell in love with. An absolutely lovely dram.

  4. Red_Arremer says:

    John, in this case your slight frustration with this whiskies reticence actually makes me more interested in it.

    I recall that you also wanted more out of Talisker 175th anniv., a whisky which I consider to be wonderful. Sure it’s “reserved,” but when I took the time with it I found that that kind of drew me on. What I discovered was that it had a somewhat odd progression of flavors and mouthfeel, which was very enjoyable– And, and I guess this is my point, which would not have been possible in a bigger bolder whisky.

    Just my two cents.

  5. John Hansell says:

    Red, I did score it a 92, so I liked it very much. I’m just trying to put the whisky in perspective, relative to some of the other bottlings.

  6. Texas says:

    Red_Arremer..I liked the 175th very much as well, while John and just about every other reviewer I read was not so crazy about. I thought the 175th was about as tame as the 18 year, but far more complex.

  7. Shaun Farrier says:

    I’ve yet to have an under-impressive Talisker, which the exception of the 1992/2005 DE.

    I was lucky enough compare side by side the standard 10yo, the 175th, & the previous 25yo. I truly liked them all, but was surprised how well the 10yo held up in this blind tasting. I appreciate it’s unrelenting attack / punch, plus it comes across as fresh and not overly woody.

  8. Texas says:

    Shaun, I 100% agree about the 10. It’s my favorite Talisker and my favorite single malt period. That peppery kick, or chile catch as the distillery calls it is something else. I only wish I was drinking single malts back in the early 80’s when I first could legally drink as I hear the Talisker punch was even greater back then.

  9. Bill H. says:

    I’m with Red. I like my Talisker with finesse and love the 175th. The 25 I’ve had (whichever iteration is on sale at Warehouse in Manhattan), which doesn’t seem far off from your notes for the 2009, John, appeals to me for the same reasons. I’ve tried the 20 yo (bourbon, not sherry, sadly), and that seemed more akin to the 18 whereas the 25 was more akin to the 175th.

  10. H.Diaz says:

    Texas, the downtown/mother Specs (your in Houston I believe) had several Talisker 18 y/o for sale last month. The first I had seen in about 2 years.

    I bought one of course and to my surprise, the price had stayed the same, mid $60’s.

  11. […] John Hansell reviews the 25 year old 2009 release from Talisker. […]

  12. JWC says:

    i got a bottle of the 25 yo as a gift, was tempted to open it on christmas day but drank something else instead. i have a bottle of the 10 yo, wish i could get a bottle of the 18 yo so i could do a side by side comparison.

    h.diaz, i was at the dt spec’s fairly regularly during oct – dec and i never saw a bottle fo the talisker 18 yo. if they were on sale, they might have sold out before i saw them. they definitely don’t have them now (i didn’t see any a few days ago).

  13. Texas says:

    H Diaz and JWC..I also saw the 18 at Spec’s briefly. It was there for about 3 weeks this month..I was going to get it Saturday and they were all gone.

  14. Texas says:

    ..well obviously not three weeks this month (doh), but I saw it there about 3 weeks ago then all gone this weekend.

  15. Todd says:

    John, the 1st release of the Talisker 25 back in 2000 or 2001 was a big aggressive whisky, while the more recent ones have been more gentle. Do you think this reflects a significant change in the way Talisker is made? It seems to me that the old 10 year bottles in the brown or green glass were much more peppery and had more punch than the current 10 yo.

  16. John Hansell says:

    Todd, I can’t say for sure if it is a change in the way the whisky is made, but I do see your point.

  17. I never had a Talisker I didn’t like, especially the Distillers Editions. This has to be one of my “Bucket List” Distilleries!

  18. mongo says:

    i really like the 2009 edition of the 25 year old, a bottle of which i received as 40th birthday gift from some generous friends a few months ago. as john says, it does start out reserved but the finish comes through strong and goes on forever. i don’t drink it with water, and this is a whisky that really rewards slow drinking as the changes in the nose and on the palate are quite remarkable as it sits in the glass. i find the nose dry/salty at first, then opening into brandy notes and finally transitioning to smelling like a fine ham. citrus, on the palate, yes, but only after some opening bitterness, and gets fruitier as it sits. the classic pepper shows up mostly on the finish. very, very nice. i am eager to taste it alongside a bottle of the 2004 25 year old that is waiting to come to me from a friend in new york (along with a bottle of the 18 year old and the 175th).

    a talisker that i’m having a much harder time coming to terms with, however, is the 1998-2009 d.e. the nose is very nice–briny, opening into nice notes of toffee. i’m on the fence right now on what the sherry does to the taste. it tastes a bit like a twisted macallan at first, but then that bite begins to make its way through, but it’s really more of a nibble than a bite. michael jackson says the “characteristic volcanic flavours suddenly erupt”; someone must have put something in his bottle, or the 1989-2000 version he tasted must have been very different from the 1998-2009 indeed. it could grow on me though, and i do like it, but right now i am inclined to say that talisker and sherry may get along but don’t really need to know each other*: though what emerges is nonetheless an interesting whisky, the sherry blunts much of what makes talisker distinctive, and doesn’t seem to me to harmonize with it.

    *at least not in this way: 10 years +1 in sherry; i have not had the good fortune to try the classic sherry cask bottlings that everyone raves about.

  19. TS Phillips says:

    I managed to buy a bottle of this tonight for less than half the price they usually sell for. But it is the 2005 bottling (!) Are they really each that different and any comments on the 2005? I have a very bad cold so I will not even go near it until the weekend, but I could not pass up the bargain.

    So am curious to hear more. The reviews of the 2005 specifically were all favorable and liked it between than the previous two. I am also a big fan of the 10 and yes, to the previous poster, the 80s Talisker was much “uglier”. Not quite up there with the 12 yo Laugavulin from that same era. But I remember it being much more eye popping than today’s variety.

  20. DavidG says:

    Able to disclose where? I really enjoyed the 2005 bottling, and at $100ish (I believe it initially was at $100) it is a great buy.

  21. mongo says:

    my guess would be warehouse in nyc, which is where i also got it for about $90.

    • DavidG says:

      Do they ship? I know they don’t have a website

      • mongo says:

        i don’t believe so. a friend in nyc bought it for me and then sent it months later with someone who was traveling with checked baggage. the things we whisky-hounds do….

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