Tuesday, 26 July 2016

More No Age Statement Scotch: Talisker Skye

I wasn’t intending to buy any single malt that Sunday afternoon. I was actually looking for Christmas themed beers, but when I saw a new Talisker expression with £13 off, it made me ask what the point was in having a booze budget, if I couldn’t take advantage of offers like this. When it came to money for buying spirits on our upcoming trip to Canada, I’d just have to make do, one way or the other.
So it was £25. Sure enough, this isn’t the renowned Talisker 10, which I’ve also bought at such a bargain price before, but that doesn’t make it any less worth £25. Yes, it may be made of younger spirit, it may be a no age statement offering (following in the footsteps of Talisker’s other recent offerings, Storm and 57 Degrees North – neither of which I’ve tried beyond a single free sample), it probably isn’t going to be as good as the Talisker 10… but so? It is still bottled at 45.8% and you never know, I might actually enjoy it more.
For all intents and purposes, it looks pretty much the same. The label is blue this time, and it is called “Skye”. Of particular note though, is that instead of a box, this one is packaged in a little maritime style bag that fastens with… paper fasteners, I think they’re called. It’s a nice touch, though I can’t deny that I nearly dropped the bottle, struggling to extract it.
I know, I probably shouldn’t be encouraging this move towards no age statement expressions by buying them, but it was £25! A note, though; you shouldn’t just take up offers willy-nilly, or you’ll always be settling for the kind of things you can get cheap in your local supermarket. You can find out what I thought last time I tried some NAS bottlings incidentally, here where I have a close look at releases by Ardmore and Bowmore.
It could go either way, looking at online impressions. User reviews encompass the whole range from sublime to undrinkable. Let’s find out for ourselves.
Mrs Cake looked over as I was removing the seal, and said with razor sharp incisiveness, “booze is a great hobby. Because it’s like buying yourself a present but, not only do you get the excitement of buying the present, you also get the excitement of opening it.”
It’s beautiful that, isn’t it? I’d never thought of it that way, even though I’ve always been well aware that I get excited both at the moment of purchase, and even more so at the moment of opening (which can often be several months later). Just now, I can’t think of any other presents or purchases that give pleasure like that. You could buy tickets to see your favourite band, but you’re not excited about the tickets, you’re looking forward to going to the show. Maybe that is the same. Anyway, I think it’s beautiful.
Speaking of beautiful, how nice is this Talisker Skye? I’m not kidding, this is superb. Even the first glass out of the bottle was all it could be. Grassy and malty on the nose – a classic whisky smell, silky, full-bodied, sweet and full of delights, but with none of the negative edges that can sometimes hide in your single malts. Just a joy all the way down.
The last time I had a bottle of the 10 year old, I noticed how it took around 6 months for the spirit to develop into something sublime. This, despite no doubt being a blend of younger stocks, is already what the Talisker 10 finally managed to be. Probably even better – and being this good, I’ll be very surprised if there is any left in 6 months’ time to see how it compares then.
Really, the youth was quite undetectable until I tried a glass after the very classy Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit. I’ll definitely have the Talisker first if I drink both of these on the same night in future, but nevertheless, a slight hint of youth shouldn’t be considered detrimentally.
I took a break from the Skye of a few weeks when I decided to open a bottle of Crown Royal at the same time as the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. I’ll be writing much more about those later, but the point I want to make is that my return to the Skye resulted in absolute delight. This is such a beautifully balanced whisky that I’m thinking I already have a front runner for the 2016 spirit of the year. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though; there’s lots of drinking still to come this year.
All in all though, you ought to give the Talisker Skye a try. Very, very good value.

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