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Talisker 10 Year Old Whisky Review - Isle of Skye Whisky

Updated on May 5, 2014
Talisker 10 Year Old
Talisker 10 Year Old
James Bond after a few Taliskers
James Bond after a few Taliskers

Talisker Ten year Old Whisky

Talisker Ten year Old whisky is truly unique and one of my absolute favorite whiskies. Not only is it the sole representative of Isle of Skye whisky, which is just off the west coast of Scotland and a few hundred miles North of the famous Islay, but the flavors really set it apart from other whiskies. Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and many other classic books, described Talisker as a category unto itself, he called it “The king of drinks” and I’d be forced to agree with him.

Another famous fan of this iconic whisky is James Bond of all people, despite being more famous from the films for a vodka martini, shaken not stirred; he actually preferred a few drams of Talisker and drank it throughout the books by Ian Fleming.

The original Talisker distillery, built in 1831, actually burned to the ground in a fire in 1960 and was completely rebuilt shortly after. Great care was taken to ensure the replacement stills were built to the exact specifications of the originals to maintain that classic Talisker flavor. Have they succeeded? I have no idea as I am unlikely to ever get the chance to taste a pre 1960 Talisker whisky. However, I can vouch for the post 1960 10 year old version which is a real winner.

The Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye
Talisker Distillery
Talisker Distillery

My Thoughts on Talisker Ten Year Old Whisky

The flavor of Talisker Ten Year Old whisky really reflects the landscape and geography of the stormy wave thrashed island. I find it a salty whisky and like to think that it is the salt of the sea that I can taste in the drink. But that is balanced with peat and fruit and is remarkably light. I remember trying it for the first time, at first it knocked me for six, but the delicious long finish keeps bringing me back for more. The Talisker 10 year old whisky is a stalwart on my whisky shelf and a real go to whisky that never disappoints.

Talisker 10 year old whisky is what I’d call an everyday whisky as it isn’t as peaty and heavy as an Islay whisky, but has a lot of complexity and earthiness. This is certainly one of my go to whiskies that you can enjoy in pretty much any situation. I certainly wouldn’t describe Talisker 10 year old as a starter whisky as there are some pretty strong flavors going on and having this as your first dram might put you off, maybe start with a Glenfiddich or Glenlivet and move further west as you drink more. But after you’ve been drinking whisky for a while and you’ve started craving bigger, more subtle flavors you will struggle to beat Talisker.

This is what Talisker 10 Year Old is like.
This is what Talisker 10 Year Old is like.

Talisker Ten Year Old Whisky Review

The nose on talisker Ten Year Old gives you a great range of flavors, the first thing I get is the smell of the sea, brine and iodine, but also a hint of ripe orange peel. When you try it make sure you get your nose right into the glass and give it a good long sniff to really savour and enjoy the nose.

The palate gives me more sea salt with peat and a whiff of smoke; it really conjures images of huge waves crashing into the rocks around the distillery. The finish is long, peaty and peppery with a hint of sweetness. Delicious!

Adding water opens the flavors nicely and enhances the sweetness for me, but at the cost of the saltiness. Some may prefer it with a dash of water, but I stick to neat with this one and think you can go wrong. Talisker Ten Year Old is also a deceptively strong dram at 45.8% so watch out!


Price guide: £35 ($50)

Strength: 45.8%

Color: Amber / Golden orange.

Nose: Sea salt, iodine, ripe oranges, hint of peat.

Palate: Sea air and salt, like standing on the cliffs by the sea on a windy day, seaweed, peat, pepper and spice.

Finish: Nice long finish, peaty and peppery but with a hint of sweetness.

Adding Water: Takes the edge of the taste, makes it slightly more floral at a cost of the sea flavors. This one has to be drunk neat for me; it’s the saltiness that really brings me back for me.

Total Score – 88

Talisker Ten year Old is an excellent whisky that can hold it’s own against any whisky even those at much higher process. Not the cheapest on the shelf, but great value. Go and buy some now!


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    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 5 years ago from UK

      Inspired by this article I have just bought myself a bottle of Talisker. They have released a nice new container, which has rope wound around the top. It doesn't affect the taste of the whisky, but it looks the part on the shelf.

      My whisky collection is growing now again after reading your whisky hubs. I'd let it slide by drinking it all and not buying replacement bottles, but I am now collecting again. Hopefully my birthday next week will bring a few more bottles my way.

    • dommcg profile image

      dommcg 5 years ago

      thanks, rain defence. I'd suggest giving it another try particularly if you like you're islay whiskies. enjoy.

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 5 years ago from UK

      Very descriptive, you obviously really love talisker!

      I have drank a couple of bottles and although enjoyable, I wouldn't say it was my favourite, it just didn't quite hit the spot for me. But I will no doubt buy and drink more anyway as it is a good whisky and as I am about to start rebuilding my collection I definitely need a bottle.

      Keep on drinking and writing!