Home Distilleries Review: Talisker 30 Year (2021 Edition)

Review: Talisker 30 Year (2021 Edition)

by Chris Perugini

This is my latest review of a 30 year old Talisker but it certainly isn’t my first. I was lucky enough to try a previous version of Talisker 30 Year a few years ago as part of a bottle split (you can read that review here). That previous 2017 release had all the hallmarks one might expect from a well-aged, OB Talisker. It was made from a combination of ex-bourbon cask and ex-sherry cask matured whisky and was bottled at their standard strength of 45.8% ABV. I’ve never been a huge fan of malts with peat influence but for some reason, Talisker is an exception. I’m not sure what sort of special magic happens on the Isle of Skye but it just seems to work for me. Aging for 30 years also really helps tame the influence that peat has on a whisky.

Talisker 30 is back again with a whole new look and feel. Diageo has really stepped up their labeling and packaging game when it comes to special releases and this latest iteration of Talisker 30 is no exception. What pleasantly surprised me was that the liquid inside the bottle got an upgrade as well. This release is non-chill filtered, without added coloring, and bottled at a natural cask strength of 48.5% ABV. If that doesn’t pique your interest, nothing will. The other thing that really raised my eyebrows was full maturation in refill ex-bourbon casks. There’s no overpowering wine cask influence here at all.

The 2021 release of Talisker 30 produced 3,126 bottles with 498 of those bottles allocated to the US. What happens to Talisker after three long decades of maturation in refill American oak?

Image courtesy of Diageo North America
Image courtesy of Diageo North America
Talisker 30 Year 2021 - 48.5% ABV
Category Notes
Appearance Pale Gold
Nose Sea air, charcoal, clove, white pepper, dried tropical fruits, slightly vegetal, hint of whipped cream. Water brings out more fruit and smoke along with a buttery croissant/biscuit note.
Taste Sweet and salty, dried fig, more peppery spice, grilled pineapple, hints of smoke, apples, lemon peel. With water, orange Pixie Stix, red licorice, and melon emerge along with more damp earthiness.
Finish Surprisingly mellow, fruit salad, bonfire on the beach, the small amount of peat I was expecting shows up a bit at the very end. With water, vanilla icing, more citrus, and the oak finally shines through.
Overall Thoughts A fruit-forward Talisker isn’t what I was expecting at 30 years old but that’s exactly what I got. I really enjoyed the interplay between the barbecue notes, the fruit, and the inherent coastal salinity of this whisky. When I compare this to the last 30 year release from a few years ago, I think that this release better showcases what this distillery has to offer by omitting sherry casks and bottling at cask strength. This is an extremely well done whisky that any fan of single malts would appreciate.
Total Score 93/100

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