I’ve never been to the Islands of Scotland, but I imagine that if you could distill it and put it into a bottle, it would taste like this. Talisker 10 is probably my second favorite peated Scotch I’ve tried, next only to the infamous Lagavulin 16. With that said, it’s still an amazing pour and a worthy addition to any Scotch fan’s home bar.
My first Scotch I ever had was Johnnie Walker Black. I didn’t know what to expect or what to really think about it once I had tried it. I simply didn’t like it at the time. I was young, in my first year or two of college and hadn’t really experienced much whiskey beyond Jack Daniel’s. I bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black because it was the Scotch everyone had heard about and I fell into the marketing just as much as anyone else. I don’t remember anything about it other than I didn’t like it and decided to never buy another bottle of Scotch. This was in 2006 or 2007. I bought my second bottle of Scotch in 2017, in fact, I bought four. I made an order from Master of Malt in which I picked up Talisker 10, Ardbeg Uigeadail, Oban 14 and Lagavulin 16 (as well as Blanton’s Gold and Nikka Whiskey from the Barrel). They say that peaty Scotch is something that people typically have to acquire a taste for, but after my first few sips, I knew that I was not one of those people.
Talisker 10 is a perfect example of what an Island Scotch should be. The nose invokes the smells of the ocean, with a hint of citrus with a campfire burning somewhere in the distance. The taste is magical, sweet honey-like notes roll across the tongue and the briny sea fades into smoke, like fog on the water. The finish is long, warm and sweet and leaves you longing for another sip. I enjoy drinking peated Scotch the most on rainy days here in Georgia, especially in Fall and Winter. That’s not to say I don’t like them year-round, but there’s just something about the way a nice peated Scotch seems to compliment the sound and smell of rain on a cool day.
I can pick up a bottle of Talisker 10 for $55-60 at most stores around here and I consider that to be a fair price for what you’re getting. While 10 years is sort of young for a Scotch, there’s plenty of flavor and character in each sip and I feel it’s a worthy bottle to have on your shelf if you’re a fan of peated whiskey. If that’s a little steep for you to “wet your toes” with peated Scotch, you could always look for a bottle of Talisker Storm which is a non age stated Scotch that greatly resembles Talisker 10 for around $30. I think it’s a great bottle for the price and it’s similar enough to let you know if you’re willing to spend the extra for the 10 year.
I would highly recommend Talisker 10 for anyone that’s interested in trying an Island Scotch or even to someone who has tried and enjoyed some of the other peated Scotches like Ardbeg, Lagavulin or Laphroaig. Peated Scotches are definitely a unique experience in the whiskey world and Talisker 10 is no exception.