The appointment was made in the North West of Scotland on the Isle of Skye. So we headed for the Skye bridge to cross the Kyle Akin and reach the island to taste the whisky that has long
been the only local whisky (recently joined by TORABHAIG (that I had the opportunity to introduce to you here) and just opposite RAASAY (that I also had
the opportunity to introduce to you here) on the island of the same name.
Old Craig Mac Leod told me to follow the 87 road to Sligachan, there he told me to take the 863 towards the west of the island. But to my surprise, he didn't tell me to turn for Carbost (the village where the TALISKER distillery is located) but to continue on this narrower and narrower road towards the north !
I don't know if you know the Isle of Skye, but the least we can say is that every minute you're not safe from taking in the sights. A Pocket Scotland!
Well I know, I didn't come only for the landscape but also to taste whisky ! The last few miles of the single track road take us across the moor, through the valleys and sheep. The road seems endless and I never think I'll get there.
I finally reach the GPS point that Craig had given us, the Neist Point lighthouse! The tip of the Isle of Skye! But it's not over yet, because as I leave our trusty BRAD PEAT behind, I still have a few flights of stairs and a nice path far from flat to get to the meeting point!
In front of me in the distance, in the mist, the islands of Uist and Bendecula. The sea spray whips my nose and the wind rushes under my kilt!
At the foot of the lighthouse, a barrel with not one, but two bottles on it! I don't understand, because today we were supposed to taste the 10 year old. A bottle with a white label has turned into two bottles with blue labels. I am nevertheless reassured when I read on it TALISKER!
I get to know my host a little better. He introduces himself: Craig MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod of MacLeod, descendant of the clan that ruled the Isle of Skye for many years.
Suspecting that I had not come to hear him explain why the clan's emblem was a cow's head, he goes towards the two bottles and explains that the last 10 year old bottles had left the distillery and that from now on TALISKER was combined into a TALISKER SKYE and a TALISKER STORM (note however that since this epic adventure the 10 year old TALISKER has returned to the shelves of your wine shops with its beautiful new label - Editor's note).
Craig also tells us that the two new expressions nevertheless remain finished in bourbon barrels and should be close to the original. Above all, it is this finish that gives it a beautiful golden colour.
As the breeze rises a little more, we begin the tasting by the SKYE :
The first nose that dives into the glass almost finds the outside air (plus alcohol): it is charged with sea breeze and sea spray. When it returns, the nose discovers a very light peat with a slightly medicinal base marked with an island whisky. The desire to return is stronger and there are surprising notes of citrus fruit and ginger that appear (bringing exoticism to this surprising version).
We take a deep breath of fresh air from a sea breeze that is now intensifying and turning to the wind. The signal is given to taste.
On the palate it is only sweet: quite marked citrus fruit notes, spices still present and coming from a long period in the barrel. Fortunately, there is also a little peat and salinity, the absence of which would have surprised us in these places.
Surprisingly enough, this whisky is so sweet, its finish is long and full of freshness but also smoky notes.
This first tasting, which in the end turns out to be quite different from the ardour we expected from the 10 years, accompanied by a wind that is rising more and more, naturally leads us to the second bottle placed on the barrel: TALISKER STORM.
On the nose the difference is quite clear. Certainly the first passage is quite close to what we expected from the 10 years: marine, medicinal and even spicy flavours. On the second pass we discover citrus aromas more marked than in the first tasting (as if we had added red fruits). The third passage finally reveals a real peat worthy of the island. Certainly it is not as marked as on the Isle of Islay but it is sweet, vanilla and slightly peppery.
It is in the mouth that we find the TALISKER style. First of all, softness but also power (whereas the degree is the same as the first one). Gradually notes of spices appear and in the end they are the long-awaited notes of peat and smoke.
Craig slowly walks away without saying anything and without telling us to do the same. And it is just as we open our mouths to a sweet and peaty finish, that a salty taste returns to us in the nose but above all that a sea pack falls on the cliff below and literally showers us by increasing of course the salty note of the drink, all this under the satisfied smile of our host.
It is always difficult to choose one whisky or another, but now I must admit that by the STORM is perhaps closer to what we expected. And more suitable for a tasting at the end of the island.
Old Craig doesn't give up either and tells me that he wants me to continue the adventure. We head to the west of the island to the castle that has been his clan's home for hundreds of years, for new adventures !