If you ever wanted to intensify the coastal character and credentials of a whisky, you could always try sending some of the staves that make up the oak casks used to finish the whisky across the Atlantic ocean - and as it just so happens, for their oldest distillery release to date, Talisker did just that!
For the latest and undoubtedly the most seafaring expression from the Isle of Skye based distillery, Talisker teamed up with renowned adventurer James Aiken, who undertook a 3,264 mile journey across the Atlantic, with a cargo of wooden staves, which upon completion of the crossing were returned to Scotland to complete the final maturation of Talisker 43 Year Old Xpedition Oak.
So what sensory story does the Talisker 43 Year Old Xpedition Oak single malt Scotch whisky (49.7% ABV - RRP: £3,500.00) have to tell?
The nose kicks off with wondrous waves of sea spray, polished oak, seaweed, smoke and wood spice. Followed by notes of stewed apples, raisins, dates, dried apricots, mixed citrus peel and salted caramel.
The nasal niceties continue with raw honeycomb, treacle tart, black pepper, dried red chillies, a pinch of mixed spice and the tease of a bag of Frazzles.
The palate dishes up and delivers a fabulously fruity five-a-day of raisins, red delicious apples, honeydew melon, tinned pears and grilled pinapple rings. Along with a crashing wave of sea spray, polished oak, wood spice and a tease of smoke.
The palatable pleasures continue with a wedge of sticky toffee pudding, mixed citrus peel, dried apricots, dark chilli chocolate, white pepper, mixed spice, a hint of anise and something deliciously dusty.
The finish of this lesson in liquid history is long and leisurely, as it continues to highlight the balance and bounty of everything that this sassy, sweet, smoky and spiced sip has to offer.
To say that I was thrilled to get the opportunity to sample Talisker's oldest drop of sippage is an understatement, particularly given that it has always been one of my go to distilleries, for both everyday dramming with their teasing and tenacious 10 Year Old, and for those more special and celebratory occasions with the likes of their triumphant and terrifically tasty 18 and 25 Year Old bottlings.
All in all, this latest release is everything and more that you would hope for and expect from a Talisker of this age. Oozing a wealth of maturity but still exuding a relatively youthful vibrancy!