Once a month I’ll be handing over the reigns of AmateurDrammer.com to new columnist Rob Beaton. Rob is a whisky enthusiast and a barman so brings a new perspective to the site. For his first piece he has chosen to take a closer look at one of his favourite drams.
Here we are, all stuck in isolation due to the Coronavirus epidemic. Although it is very much for the best it leaves many of us with this inescapable void of what we should be doing with ourselves. For those that can work from home it is not so bad however for those like myself who work within the hospitality trade it has become tougher to find something to do after the chores are done.
So If I can’t talk whisky in the bar I will do it from the comfort of my own house instead.
Probably best to start by focusing on one of my favourite drams from the Island region – Talisker 18
Talisker is one of only two active distilleries on the Isle of Skye – the other being Torabhaig. Talisker was established in 1830 by brothers Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill as a way to employ the population they had moved on from their estate as part of the Highland clearances. It has remained an icon of the Island region and is currently owned by Diageo.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing however as a large fire in the stillhouse practically destroyed the distillery – prompting an extensive rebuild in 1960.
With its robust, full bodied yet sweet and soft smoky character Talisker is a wonderful dram for any smoky whisky fan or perhaps even for those looking to explore the smokier side of Scotch.
Talisker 18, for me, not only speaks volumes about the classic Talisker character but also has its own mark to make. Given that it currently retails for around £80 it represents decent value too. It certainly lives up to its award winning status after being declared Best Single Malt Whisky in the World at the World Whisky Awards in 2007.
Using a combination of both Bourbon and Sherry casks the 18 year old boasts the classic house style and character; robust and full bodied with spicy peppery notes, soft sweet smoke with a hint of salt. 18 years of maturation brings a rich, round balance to the flavours, bringing them together in wonderful harmony. Imagine a salted toffee under a dome of vanilla, alongside soft oak and peat smoke.
A dram that lures you in at first with its smooth charm then caresses you with its elegant touches of spiced sweetness. It finishes off with that sweet smoke that wont let you forget to go back for more.
Trust me, I know… I did.
Rob Beaton can mostly be found behind the bar at The Malt Room in Inverness – if he’s not there he’s probably experimenting by mixing cocktails at home or wandering around a distillery.
You can follow him on Instagram here.
You can find more tasting notes in the Amateur Drammers Archives.
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