Monday, December 28, 2015

Talisker Distillers Edition: 2003 - 2014

Talisker is, for the moment, one of the best whisky values around. Seriously, how many other distilleries produce a 25-year-old expression that can be purchased for around $200 US? (134 British Pounds) Their 18-year-old expression is top-notch and can be had for under $100 US.

Recently, I picked up a bottle of The Distillers Edition, distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2014. This whisky immediately earned a place on my top shelf. This is a beautiful dram, having all the usual Talisker characteristics with the addition of some subtle fruit and chocolate notes from having been aged in Amoroso Sherry casks. Another double-matured special edition in the Diageo portfolio is Lagavulin's Distillers Edition, also reworked with the addition of sherry-cask influence. That whisky enjoys a solid reputation as well. Not every peated-whisky distiller has been successful in tweaking its flavor profile by using sherry casks in their special editions, but both Talisker and Lagavulin have done bang-up jobs and are worthy of much praise, not only for the drinking pleasure they have given us in their sherry-cask limited editions, but for their craftsmanship in doing so; too many whiskies with excellent basic flavor profiles get ruined by cask domination.

At around $65 US, Talisker's 2014 Distillers Edition is not only one of the best distiller bottlings I've ever purchased, but it is the best bang-for-the-buck whisky I've ever picked up.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Amrut Peated Single Malt

I'd been wanting to try an Amrut whisky for some time when it finally appeared on the shelves of my favorite local bottle shop.  There were three options, but I settled on one, Amrut Peated Single Malt. At $43 US, I didn't mind purchasing it blindly, especially given its rating of 94 points from Jim Murray.

Facts

Origin: Bangalore, India
Age: NAS
ABV: 46%
Chill Filtering: No
Coloring added: No

Appearance
Islay Gold

Nose
Soft and rounded, caramel-soaked barbecued bacon, oak, ash, floral and grassy.

Palate
Slightly sweet, malty, a little sour, a little bitter, sweet tea

Finish
Medium, peat and smoke, mild spices

Conclusion: A worthy dram to be sure, but there are too many Islay characteristics to really ascertain any uniqueness in this whisky. It's somewhere between an Ardbeg and a Bruichladdich. For the same price, Ardbeg 10 is a superior dram, and there's not enough originality in Amrut Peated for me to choose it as a peaty alternative to Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Port Charlotte or Laphroaig.