The Talisker Storm is a No Age Statement (NAS, see my last cigar rant on Whisky Warfare) which is the new norm for single malt Scotch industry. For those that are not in the know, its basically a combination of different single malts at different ages (3 to 25 years); thus, instead of a malt that is matured in one cask or more for 12 years its an amalgamation of say….20, 12, and 4 year old single malts combined into one. This technique is useful because it allows distilleries to meet and ever increasing demand and puts whisky into production that would normally age while evaporation in the form of the angel’s share eats away at inventory.
Talisker storm is aged in re-charred barrels which means that the barrels have already been used for bourbon and whisky and already charred for that purpose but then they are re-charred (on the interior) and used again. The purpose of charring the interior of the barrel is to expose more of the woods surface to the malt so that it imparts more flavor, but there are other stories of American whiskey makers that charred the interior of the barrel to sterilize it, and other stories state that there was an accidental fire that charrel the barrel and added a smoky taste which the makers took notice of. At about 92 proof the Talisker Storm is about as stiff as it can get before it goes off the deep end. The nose is filled with sweet cream, sea brine, peat smoke, and pears. The first sips reveal the medicinal notes that are distinctly part of Talisker’s signature flavor profile but the smokiness factor is more pronounced. Subsequent sips start to reveal more intricate layers of flavor. Cream, maritime flavors, honey, pears, peat smoke, and medicinal hard candy all play some part in the overall profile. The finish is as long as the Mississippi river and warm as a bowl of soup eaten in front of a fireplace. A superior dram through and through but am not deceived by those that chose to use Talisker Storm as a shining example of what the NAS trend offer. Why? One or two NAS malts does not a positive trend make. The suits in the executive office that are dictating the pace of the NAS conversion are not doing so to produce a wonderful malt they are doing it to meet the demands of the market, increase the share price, and continue to grow. Its motivations like these that kill entire industries.
The younger malts embrace more of the smoke flavors which is typical because smoke flavors tend to dissipate as the malt gets older and the sweeter more refined notes are derived from the older single malts. Talisker has produced three new single malts as part of its new NAS line; firstly the Talisker Storm; secondly, Talisker Dark Storm which is aged super re-charred cask; thirdly, Port Ruighe which is aged in port cask. Of these I have only tried the Talisker Storm which is an excellent dram regardless of whether or not its a NAS.
For cigar pairing reviews with Talisker (see below)