Well then. After our monumental trip to Islay, it felt only right to lay off whisky for a few days and let the collective Caskstrength metabolism recover from all the remarkable drams we tried, as well as the equally remarkable Glen Gusset, which is currently residing in a small wooden vessel in a secret location.
But on returning to London, it seemed the whisky world had carried on valiantly in our absence - samples of a brand new Cutty Sark (Storm) had arrived, alongside the new Irish whiskey, Yellow Spot (stay tuned for a full review) But our eye was immediately drawn to a package marked Talisker. Hmmm. what could be inside we wondered. Rumours of a new Talisker have been doing the rounds, so we eagerly opened the packaging and found that not only was there one new release, but two... perhaps a third around the corner too? who knows...
Anyway, the two whiskies in our sample pack will be well known to most Talisker fans already, only they've now been made full 'family members', rather than just part of the Diageo special release programme.
According to the press release, 'Talisker 25 year old and Talisker 30 year old will be available on a regular basis within the Talisker range - although necessarily in limited editions, and bottled at the traditional Talisker strength of 45.8% ABV.'Here's our thoughts on these, the first of the brand new formulations:
Talisker - 25 years Old - 45.8% - 2012 Edition
Nose: Soft fruit crumble, (raspberries and strawberries) cotton bandages, floral candle wax, hot fudge sauce and a little zing of liquorice and soft peat smoke. With water the wax notes become more prominent. Classic Talisker, but with a softer, more comforting underbelly.
Palate: That equally classic Talisker pepper note is there, but not as spiky as the ten year old. It subsides into golden syrup, a blast of spices (more liquorice and anise) some creamy milk chocolate and something waxy, silky and mouth coating. With water a malty note comes to the fore, alongside some dairy fudge (or Tablet) and fresh raspberries. Superb.
Finish: the rasps seem to linger, alongside a little dusting of black pepper.
Overall: Of all the Talisker's we've tried, this age seems to perfectly characterise a great whisky maturing gracefully. The ten year old is still the benchmark and alongside the 18 year old, forms the bedrock of flavours that this bottling sits perfectly aloft. We for one are delighted that there's going to be a regular supply of this for the future, not just on specialist allocation.
Next up: 30 years old:
Talisker - 30 Years Old - 45.8% - 2012 Edition
Nose: Fruitier than the 25 year old and perhaps a touch more floral, with notes of the scented candle wax, stewed rhubarb and baked sweet pastry. With water, a return to the spices of the 25 year old, but with a little added oomph...
Palate: Slightly more abrasive than the 25 year old, but with more immediate notes of lemon zest, cracked black pepper, sliced green apples and the soft peat smoke you'd expect in a dram of aged Talisker. With water, some medicinal throat lozenges emerge.
Finish: The medicinal lozenge notes linger, alongside some creamy undertones.
Overall: Very similar to the 25 year old, but if we're honest, I think the younger brother just nicks it in terms of being the most impressive.