Whisky Advocate

Whisky Advocate Award: Highlands/Islands Single Malt of the Year

December 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.”

Talisker Storm_Hi ResOne 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.

13 Responses to “Whisky Advocate Award: Highlands/Islands Single Malt of the Year”

  1. Danny Maguire says:

    Not tried it yet, could be interesting.

  2. Gavin says:

    Hi Danny, definitely worth a go if you’re a fan of Talisker. I think you’ll be pleased.

  3. Josh Peters says:

    Excellent choice. This has quickly become one of my favorites

  4. keith sexton says:

    Someone’s gonna say it, so I’ll be first. It’s not as good as the 10 yr old. Still good, though!

  5. Mark says:

    Color me disappointed. Once they called it ‘Storm’ I had certain expectations, which were not met.

    It’s nice, pretty smooth, sweeter than Talsiker 10, probably not best for my palate, for others they love it. That’s great. I don’t mind over the top advertising, I’m in favor of new NAS bottles if they taste good, but this one is misleading. It’s a shower at best.

    Counter-example, Corryvrecken, unnecessarily named after a whirlpool, it is a rough ride & matches the spirit of the branding

  6. I think this is a great choice, Gavin. I thought Port Ruighe was a dog, but in a year when I felt we saw a large number of poor Scotch whiskies, this was a beacon. It’s a brave person who dabbles with an iconic Whisky such as Talisker, but this earns its place in the roster. Definitely off the coast of Skye than on it, as you point out, but so was 57 North. Quality Whisky.

  7. Gavin says:

    Thanks Dominic, as always I appreciate your thoughts and respect your judgement.

  8. Cliff Norman says:

    To vote this best HIghland/Island malt of the year I have to presume that you had not yet tasted Talisker Dark Storm which reduces Storm to a clear summers day.

  9. Roachie says:

    This shit tastes like cough syrup.

  10. Roachie says:

    Let me be clear, I LOVE Talisker 10 year. It is the Scotch I recommend to all my friends who are unfamiliar with single malts.

    But, whoever made up the formulation for this Talisker Storm needs to be taken out to the woodshed. GOD AWFUL stuff… what a terrible medicinal aftertaste. I would never dare recommend it, much less purchase again.

    I am hesitant to ever mention that name Talister again for fear that this becomes the standard.

    Awful stuff.

    Talisker, You can do better.

  11. two-bit cowboy says:

    Picked up Storm yesterday so gave it a go last night. Must say I’m confused by some of the up-thread chatter. Neither the distillery’s nor the expression’s name gave me any reason to “expect” a certain flavor footprint. The whisky doesn’t evoke the islands (certainly not the Isle of Skye) or riding out a squall. Instead I enjoyed the vegetal oiliness and the trip through the spice cupboard, especially the big burst of cinnamon red hots on the mouth. And with apologies to Wendy’s restaurants, “Where’s the Peat?”

    I see from Gavin’s site that he did indeed try Dark Storm and Glenmorangie Ealanta too. He gave those two and Storm the same four stars. It’s perhaps easy to understand why Ealanta couldn’t win the Whisky Advocate award, but I would have given Old Pulteney Navigator the nod over Storm for the Highlands/Islands category.

  12. Just purchased mine the other day and anxious to try it over a nice cube or even neat! Looking forward to the experiece as I have always liked Talisker’s ‘acquired’ taste! Not for a novice scotch drinker but definitely well worth the taste!

  13. patchman56 says:

    No way does this deserve Highland of the year— it’s ok but no real falvor developes– it’s slightly smokey and that is about it– a very short finish

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