Tasting the Talisker 11 Year Special Release 2022
ANOTHER gimmick whisky review?! Hell yes homeys. But this time it’s from Talisker, one of my all time favourite distilleries (which I had the chance to tour), which produces one of my all time favourite whiskies (the Talisker 57 North). The Talisker 11 Year Old is their special release from 2022, and happens to be cask-strength. It’s part of their budding annual tradition of putting out something fun and funky with some gorgeous sea life splashed on the front of the box, in this case a jellyfish.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my lovely wife Christine who supplied this very special bottle for me on my most recent birthday. Tempting though it is to drain it in the months following my June b-day, I’m determined to save a dram or two for colder months, because boy oh boy — the Talisker 11 is well suited to them.
For the scotch heads out there, the unique nature of Talisker 11 is apparent as soon as you spy the, well, 11. Age statements tend to follow a pretty standard pattern, and a 12 year old scotch seems to be the middleshelf industry standard. Bucking that trend, Talisker’s own flagship whisky is their 10 year old. And with age statements falling out of practice, there’s no need to drop one on a Special Release. So why 11?
That may only be known by Talisker’s distillers (and marketing department, because come on). But in addition to the weird age statement, Talisker 11 also spent its adolescence in first-fill bourbon barrels and ex-wine casks. So there’s a lot going into this party. Here’s what I thought:
Talisker 11 Special Release 2022 Review
WARNING: I am a cask-strength lover (long documented). This means I am more than biased for whiskies like this, although I always struggle to imagine a reason you’d prefer weaker, diluted, thinner drams like my Aunt Paulette (I kid, I kid). And at 55.1% ABV, no one is calling Talisker 11 a weakling.
But despite that, it pours a gentle, pale straw colour which I also love — seems Talisker resisted the temptation for any caramel colouring. On the nose, Talisker 11 smells quite a lot like Talisker 10 actually. There’s a lovely sea brininess and restrained peat smoke, as well as a kiss of toasted grain. If you really think about it, there is something vaguely fruity on the nose that distinguishes this Talisker from its slightly younger kin.
Once you’ve had a sip, the Talisker 11 really shows its stuff. It’s intensely oily and chewy which I adore. On top of that, it’s quite sweet, introducing itself with honeyed toast and apricot jam notes. The fruit then ramps up a bit more, with some definite citrus hits which play nicely with the typical seaweed and salt notes I expect from any Talisker offering. The peat is present, but very restrained. Your average Lagavulin 16 obsessive would be deeply dissapointed. There’s also a warm spice to every sip, enhanced by the generous alcohol content, which somehow remains relatively subdued. The spice continues into the long, lingering finish where it mingles with an apple-like sweetness.
You probably guessed it by now, but I love this whisky. And by god I ought to — it’s priced in only the way annual releases can be (read: way too high). But if you’re as lucky as me and get this as a gift, Talisker 11 is a treat, and yet another slam dunk from one of my favourite distilleries.