We continue our exploration of the core Talisker expressions with the Storm! Talisker Storm is a non-age statement single malt marketed as a more “intense” version of the classic 10 Year Old. It was most recently named Best Single Malt with no age statement at San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2015 and continues to do well for the brand today.
First, if you have not already done so, check out the previous 2 posts in which we introduced the uniqueness of the Talisker distillery and offered our own review of the 10 Year Old. Much of what we will be doing today is comparing the Storm to the 10 Year Old so make sure to read through it if you haven’t already. Also, make sure to click the link in our bio for a very quick intro to the Isle of Skye.
Now, back to the whisky. When you consider the extreme intensity of the Talisker 10 Year Old, presenting one with the option of something more “intense” will yield one of two outcomes: either the recipient will embrace it with unwatered curiosity (I’m talking to you my fellow peat heads) or run as far away as fast as possible. Regardless of which camp you are in, stay with us a moment. These results may not be what they seem…
To achieve the Storm’s “bolder” aroma and flavor profile, Talisker uses a combination of refill and rejuvenated casks. Rejuvenation is a process of removing the charred inner lining of an older cask, exposing un-charred oak beneath, and then re-charring it as if it were new. The newly charred oak is intended to add more vanilla, caramel, and other oak influences to the whisky’s character. Like the 10 Year Old, Storm is chill filtered, slightly colored, and bottled at 45.8% ABV. Let’s get to it…
On the nose, well it’s unquestionably Talisker. That may seem like an obvious statement. It is. But again, it’s just remarkable how detectable the distillery’s house style really is. There is nothing quite like this. A lively aroma of charred oak, seemingly damp, some honey, a light seaspray, and freshly cut grass. It’s a bit brighter and perhaps warmer than the 10 year Old but interestingly, it is much less “coastal”. The smoke is there, yes, but it’s not coming in as thick as I would have expected. Huh, very interesting. Much more welcoming that I had expected.
On the palate, a surprisingly sweet and mellow start before a rush of cracked peppercorn and peat smoke kick in. Yes, this surge is bolder than the 10 Year Old but It’s not as coastal, which to me makes it more approachable for the average whisky drinker. The finish is spicy with a quiet resurgence of the more delicate notes detected on the aroma. It doesn’t linger, passing rather quickly not unlike a short midday rainstorm.
Overall, a very good whisky. At $35 USD, the Talisker Storm offers one of the most exciting whisky experiences to be had in that price range. I’ve been enjoying this alongside the 10 Year Old for a few months now and while the differences were subtle at first, I can see it now. Talisker 10 Year Old is like swimming in the cold ocean at sunset. Your friends ask you leave the water and come join them for a dram by a bonfire they just built. But when you get to the fire you realize you forgot to bring a towel. So you sit freezing while sipping whisky as drops of salt water fall into your glass and eyelids. That is Talisker 10 Year Old. Now envision the exact same scenario although this time you remembered to bring the towel. That is Talisker Storm. A bold, peppery towel to keep you warm by the sea.