Thursday, 25 February 2010

Across the Great Divide, sherry to peat?

In the glass: Talisker 1998 Distillers Edition
On the speakers: The Band by The Band.

The Clubhouse is a good place to be this evening. The music is good, really good. The boys from the Band at their peak coming through the speakers - kicking off with "Across the Great Divide." I can't believe this record is 41 years old, it still sounds so vibrant.

A good friend of mine describes it as woody, I know what he means. In my hand a glass of something woody too, this is from 1998 not 1969 though, none the less this also a classic.

I'm a huge fan of Talisker, it used to be my regular whisky, but I've been dallying elsewhere recently. So this is like meeting up with an old friend; albeit one who has something new to tell me. I am excited, with good reason.

On the nose unsurprisingly for a Talisker there's peaty smoke, a hint of tar but unlike their regular expressions there is a distinct note of burned orange peel wrapped up in sherry and oak. Its got that salty tang you expect but with a sweet undertow.

On the palate its medium bodied, rich but not quite oily and it has all the Talisker hall marks, lightly peaty, slightly salty but the sherry cask has added a sweetness and depth. This is a great example of how to combine dry, peaty flavours with oaky, sherry flavours. Smoky and sweet doesn't always work but this is a masterclass. The flavours never compete unfolding in a harmonious and delightful way.

For me a Talisker should be a robust, manly whisky and this is no exception. The sherry finish doesn't diminish the punch in the way that some sherried whiskies become luxurious but slightly benign.

The finish is slightly shorter than I expected but in a moreish way! Sweetness in the medium finish gives way to that familiar Talisker saltiness.

The Band have only got as far as track 5 "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", surely Virgil wouldn't begrudge me another dram!

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