Whisky Advocate Award: Highlands/Islands Single Malt of the YearDecember 20th, 2013
Talisker Storm, 45.8%, $66
Talisker in any guise is a very special and idiosyncratic single malt, defining an Island style that is all its own. The last year has seen Diageo expand the existing portfolio with three new Talisker expressions, namely Storm, Dark Storm (matured in heavily charred casks), and Port Ruighe (port finish), all released without age statements. Of this trio, Talisker Storm seems the pick, with one commentator describing it as “…everything that you love about other Taliskers with the settings turned right up.”
One of the ways in which the bolder aroma and flavor profile of Storm has been achieved is by using a mix of refill casks and rejuvenated casks. The latter—older casks which have been de-charred and re-charred to give them a new lease on life—offer a distinctive wood influence when again filled with spirit.
Essentially Talisker Storm exhibits a more smoky, maritime character than the familiar 10 year old expression, yet could not be mistaken for anything other than a Talisker. Although it does not carry an age statement, this is one of those instances where you never feel when drinking the dram in question that the lack a specified age is about conserving precious stocks of older whiskies (although that may well be the case). All seems harmonious and well integrated, and any more youthful notes that emerge on the nose or palate seem entirely in keeping with the nature of the expression.
Storm arrived in the U.S. in October, and Talisker aficionados will no doubt argue long and hard over whether it just outpoints the 10 year old. One of the reasons behind the development of Storm was to be able to offer a new Talisker variant that remains true to the brand’s essential character while offering something slightly different, with easy availability and an affordable price. —Gavin Smith
Tomorrow: the Lowlands/Campbeltown Single Malt of the Year.