Talisker 30 year old, 57.3%

Price: $349.00 Issue: Spring 2011 Reviewer: Dave Broom

For me, Talisker 30 year olds have paled in comparison to the same distillery's 20 and 25 year olds. This, however, immediately shows promise. Gold in color, and while it's another one that starts ever so slightly restrained, the giveaway peppery note soon reveals itself as smoked pimento and Szechuan pepper, mixed with extra virgin olive oil spread over hot smoked salmon. There's also a touch of putty — something which you usually only see in youthful expressions — suggesting that here's another refill maturation.

As with many of these older whiskies, water isn't the best option for the palate, but a drop does help release the sweet fruitiness that always lurks in Talisker's heart, this time accompanied by an herbal note (mint and fennel). It's almost as if it is looking back at itself as an 18 year old, but here the firm granitic grip of age takes hold.

The palate starts slowly but opens well with a gentle, yet assertive revealing of the aromas on the nose. It seems to dip in energy just in the center before sparking back to life when the smoke emerges, like the last flash of defiance from an old-timer.