Sunday, 5 May 2013

Whisky Discovery #405

Talisker Storm NAS (45.6% abv)
Island Single Malt Whisky
Circa £40.00 70cl
Whisky Discovery
This is the first of two new recently introduced Talisker whiskies which we have been fortunate to receive review samples of. Storm is said to be an exuberant new expression, more intense and smoky, with enhanced and vibrant maritime notes, smoothly balanced with Talisker’s signature hot sweetness.

This new expression which will be a permanent addition to the Talisker family sits between the Talisker 10 and Talisker Distiller's Edition and  comes from a marriage of rejuvenated and refill casks at different ages and is bottled at the traditional Talisker strength of 45.8% ABV, without an age statement.

I remembered reading about 'rejuvenated' casks a little while back and so delved into my archive to re-read and digest.

Rejuvenated casks have been around for a few years now, ex-bourbon casks were subjected to steaming and scraping  thus creating a new wood surface which would be charred with a gas flame before re-using.

More recently the Cambus Cooperage installed a new system for rejuvenating casks. When casks come to the end of their usable life (usually after the fifth fill) they run through this new processing line which keeps all the cask parts together via a RF (radio frequency)  tag system. 

The casks are de-charred via a machine that shaves the inside of the barrel surface away, taking around 3-4 mm , exposing the new wood, this is said to be much better at removing the 'undesirable' elements than the original scraping or flailing process. The casks can then be re-charred before being put back into service

Whisky Science have a great article on cask rejuvenation and the effects on flavour profiles here but in short summation de-charred and re-charred exhausted ex-bourbon casks seem to produce more sweet and woody notes whereas refill casks tend to bring out the drier woody notes. 

So What Did We Think? 

Kat: Nose:  Rich and robust. Sweet slightly moist tobacco (half cigar, half rolling tobacco), juicy raisins, nice balance of wood smoke, and the smell of rolls of damp turf. 

Taste:  Slightly burnt caramel, some honey notes, warming mouth feel from fresh chillies, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, similar taste to Soreen loaf with butter without the heaviness, and lemon Lockets. 

Finish: Relatively long. Starts with the lovely wood smoke, followed by the warming chilli heat, and honey towards the end.  

Dave: I needed to reacquaint myself with Talisker 10 before I started tasting Storm. Talisker 10 was one of the early bottles I bought right at the beginning of this journey, it came highly recommended from the man who converted me to whisky, it was one of my early favourites. The bottle had long gone, and reading my blogpost for it gave me no real details (at the beginning it was just a 'liquid log' with very few tasting notes, if any). So it was off to the pub to catch myself a healthy sample to sit alongside it.

Colour-wise there is very little difference between the two expressions but as there is no mention of these being naturally coloured I would suspect that the harmony has been maintained with a drop or two of spirit caramel

On the nose there is gentle peat reek over the Talisker white pepper, however the seafood liquor experienced in the Talisker 10 Year Old is no longer there. There's a sweet note, honey like and slightly floral almost though certainly not delicate. The sweetness extends to the light smoky notes which start to slowly creep out of the glass. The maritime saltiness is there as is the white pepper.

This has a oily mouth-coating feel to it with sweet gentle honey notes, the spices build slowly giving that Talisker heat profile one comes to expect. The wild fennel note picked up on the 10 year old is evident here too, and that sweet smokiness found on the nose comes through on the palate too, but this is well balanced by the briny note.

It finishes with a smoky beach fire, salty driftwood smouldering. The white pepper remains with the sweet peat smoke and there's some woody notes too. Later the empty glass smells of that sweet smoke.

Verdict: not a bad drop of drammage, am I going to rush out and buy a bottle? Probably not, as my list is long and I really want to add a bottle of Distiller's Edition and their 18 year old to my shelf beforehand.

And finally, many thanks for Talisker's PR team for sending us the sample, photograph and information. For more information take a look at their website;  Talisker Whisky

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