Talisker has retained the five still set-up and continues to produce a highly individual new make which mixes smoke, fruit, sulphur, salt and pepper. The malt is medium-peated, the worts clear and the fermentation long. It is in distillation that things go slightly strange.
The wash stills are very tall. This refluxes any heavy elements back into the body of the still to be redistilled. After rising up the ‘U’, the lyne arm coils itself inside cold worm tubs.
While there is a lot of reflux taking place, there is little copper contact which provides the sulphury notes in the new make, and could give the signature pepperiness in the mature spirit. The purifier pipe adds oiliness, while the reflux helps to refine the fruity elements created during fermentation.
In contrast to most distilleries where the spirit stills are the workhorses, at Talisker the second distillation takes place in small plain stills, again with worm tubs. This adds mid-palate weight. Maturation is in refill and rejuvenated casks. We also use with ex-fortified wine casks for the Distiller’s Edition and Port Ruighe expressions and occasional special releases.
Nose: Powerful peat-smoke with sea-water saltiness, the liquor of fresh oysters, a citrus sweetness.
Palate: A rich dried-fruit sweetness with clouds of smoke and strong barley-malt flavours, warming and intense. At the back of the mouth is an explosion of pepper.
Finish: Huge, long, warming peppery finish with an appetizing sweetness.