The appointment was made in the northwest of Scotland towards the Skye Bridge to cross the Kyle Akin and reach the island of Skye to taste the local whisky.
Old Craig Mac Leod told us to follow Route 87 to Sligachan, where he told us to take Route 863 to the west of the island. But to our great surprise, he didn't tell us to tour for Talisker! We came for the scenery but also to taste whisky! The last 50 kilometres take us across the moor, through the valleys and sheep. We believe we will never reach the end of our road.
We still reach the GPS point given to us by Craig, the Neist Point lighthouse! End of the end of the island of Skye! Facing us in the distance in the mist are the islands of Uist and Bendecula. The spray whips our noses and the wind rushes under the kilts!
At the foot of the lighthouse, a barrel on which not one, but two bottles are placed! We don't understand, because today we had to taste the 10 years of age. A bottle with a white label turned into two bottles with blue labels. We are reassured when we read about TALISKER!
Craig explains that the last 10 years old bottles had left the distillery and that TALISKER was now combined into a TALISKER SKYE and a TALISKER STORM.
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.