“This whisky isn’t the oldest in my collection,” he said, handing another dram to Bob and then taking one for himself. “But just like you, young lady, age isn’t necessarily a qualifier.” The compliment made her smile. “The whiskey was aged for about eight years,” he continued, “but its upbringing is one of incredible refinement. It was finished in three different types of wine barrels— Mourvèdre and Sauternes, both from France, and then another from Austria, but I don’t remember the type.”
It’s not the most robust Highland Park I’ve ever tried, but certainly presents a reasonable entry point to begin exploring the line. While they state that a ‘high proportion’ of first-fill Sherry seasoned American oak casks are used in the maturation, for my preferences, they didn’t use enough. But then again, more sherry casks would translate into a higher retail price, and I think that would defeat the purpose of this release in the first place.
While I may be romanticizing the past, the palate is not as complex as I remember it being prior to being discontinued, and a bit sweeter. The older variety (again, at least in my memories) had this umami and dry finish – similar to that which can be found in good parmesan cheese – that is lacking in this one. Without knowing much about blending, my guess is that of some of the stronger, peatier, more mysterious blends are less represented in the current ratio than in past iterations of the Green Label. In this generation, the honey from the nose takes center stage on the palate and is supported by malt and cereal. A bit of water adds a little spice that is absent when drinking it neat. The mouthfeel is relatively light, but the best parts of the flavor profile seem to last longer than everything else, which is a nice surprise.
The first thing that hits the nostrils is the smoky peat, and that becomes prevalent before you’ve even finished pouring it from the bottle to the glass. Once poured, the appearance is a lovely gold. Swirling it creates a thinner rim that yields very slow, fat legs.
Talisker Storm also has an amazing, silky mouthfeel. The whisky flows everywhere over the palate, making it easy to get a real sense of the flavors underneath the peat. There is an almost non-existent burn despite its ABV.
Most Single Malt Scotches at this price point are pretty rough. Even my #RespectTheBottomShelf philosophy gives a cautious view of Single Malts from that market. This one will change your mind. It won’t blow you away, but for an Andrew Jackson, this is a hell of a good whisky and earns a Bottle rating.
I think that one of the creepiest, and perhaps most humorous, of the sleepwalking occurrences so far was when Jennifer and I were watching a movie and Harrison suddenly appeared out of nowhere-as if he’d emerged from the darkest corner of the room. He was wearing sleep pants but no shirt, and with a semi-literate mumble, he complained that he was cold. Wondering how in the world he made it down the stairs without us seeing him, I told him to go put a shirt on and get back into bed. He did. A few minutes later he emerged from the same dark space again to say he was still cold-except this time he was wearing a shirt but had taken off his pants.
Extremely well balanced whisky. No need to add any water, in fact the few drops I added basically destroyed the flavor profile. Keep it neat and you won’t be disappointed. There was more wood and smoke on the nose than in the mouth, which was a very slight disappointment to me, but if you are familiar with and enjoy the Caol Ila flavor profile, this is the bottle for you. This is a scotch to enjoy comfortably ensconced in an overstuffed, worn leather chair before a warm fire.
Maybe you’ve already figured this out, but I’m a huge fan. While I admittedly still have mixed feelings about NAS whiskies, (a topic for another post altogether) this is a fantastic pour. It is not one that I’d reach for as I plop down on the couch after a long stressful day when you just need to unwind. No… this one deserves a little more attention and should be savored after dinner in your pajamas. I mean, it takes me 20 minutes to take the first sip because I have a hard time moving on from the deliciously enticing nose.
Before even opening the bottle, based on visuals alone, I was anticipating a much sweeter profile. Maybe it was the pink coloring of the label, or the prominent “Wine Cask Blend” (also written in red lettering) that threw me off, but once poured into a Glencairn glass, the whisky was much more golden in color than my first impression. As I raised the glass to my nose, my expectations were quickly crushed. This was not very promising…