5 Apr 2011
Sometimes you see something and you have to try it. Such was the case during a recent visit to the local spirits store. I hadn’t planned on picking up any scotch, but decided to check out the scotch section to see if anything new had arrived.
When I saw a Talisker I hadn’t seen before, I knew I would be picking it up. Talisker, from the Isle of Skye, has long been a favorite of mine with it’s distinctive smokey and peaty flavors.
Talisker 1996 is a unique expression of the Talisker Single Malt. Distilled in 1996, after its normal aging it is finished in an Amroso sherry cask. Not inexpensive, though not extremely pricey by scotch standards, it sells for $80.
The scotch is a deep chestnut brown color. The nose is peaty with tar and fruit notes.
As is characteristic of Talisker, peaty and smokey flavors dominate. But underneath is an added sweet element, with rich dried fruit and toffee. The finish is long and spicy with a hint of chocolate.
All in all, this distinctive single malt is a new favorite of mine. With it’s double cask aging, it simultaneously has the classic salt water peat flavors I’ve come to expect and enjoy from Talisker coupled with a hint of sweetness that reminds me of a fine bourbon.
Not surprisingly, the Talisker Distillers Edition 1996 makes for an excellent pairing with a fine cigar. The rich but balanced flavors go well with a diverse group of premium smokes. Mild- to medium-bodied cigars like the Cuban H. Upmann No. 2 or the Berger & Argenti Entubar Natural work well. So do refined, full-bodied smokes like the Paul Garmirian Symphony Connoisseur or Tatuaje La Verite.
If you’re a fan of full, peaty scotches like Talisker or Laphroaig, I highly recommend picking up the Talisker Distillers Edition 1996, pouring yourself a few fingers neat, and lighting up your favorite cigar.
photo credit: Stogie Guys