What’s Neist Point you may ask? Well, it’s a landmark situated on the Isle of Skye that Talisker calls home and has done for centuries. Recently, I reviewed the Talisker Skye release where in greater detail I speculated about the naming of these No Age Statement releases and the true intent behind them.
Yes, I jest but it was a fun concoction to come up with and top of the current No Age Statement Talisker portfolio is this Neist Point bottling. The landmark in question is a remarkable setting at the northern end of the island that is ravaged by gales and driving rain on a regular basis. Heading towards this stunning setting that is already set upon the visual delight that is the Isle of Skye, is an arduous voyage for any traveller. Skye is home to some mighty roads, often just single track affairs with regular passing places that many tourists fail to harness properly.
Keep heading north, through Glendale and then branching out into the true wilderness and the clutch-burning ascent that is Neist Point. Parking up at what feels like the road to nowhere, you’re left to walk across a barren landscape towards the promise of sanctuary at the Neist Point lighthouse. This causeway is also home to various rarely seen wildlife in the UK, as this outcrop reaches out into the Atlantic Ocean and keep heading one way and you’ll reach North America.
Such is its desolate feeling and remoteness at the far reaches of civilisation that the location has featured in films such as 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves and Breaking the Waves with Emily Watson. The walk across to the lighthouse is not for the fainthearted with the cliff edges fraught with danger and having already claimed the lives of those who stray too close to the edge. The lighthouse itself was constructed in 1900 to warn passing ships of the dangers of its coastline and became fully automated in 1990. There are various cottages but these are privately owned, but if you’re on the Isle of Skye and want to visit the fringes of the United Kingdom or Scotland depending on your point of view, then the effort to reach the lighthouse is well worth it.
That’s the inspiration for this release sorted so let us deal with the whisky at hand. This is a premium No Age Statement edition intended originally for the Travel Retail market and it promises to harbour elements of hand-selected rare and matured Talisker stocks within the Diageo portfolio. Much like Mortlach, there is no set definition from the Scotch Whisky Association as to what constitutes rare or matured. Therefore, these are marketing terms without the safety net of a defined meaning behind them. Diageo’s idea of either could be vastly different from you or I. Price can be an indicator with the Neist Point ranging from £90 to £110 depending on where you look and shop; it’s already available out with the travel sector possibly hinting that it has not been the raging success that Diageo intended.
I purchased a measure of Neist Point at the Café Lephin in Glendale; it seemed apt given you’d have to cruise past on your way to the lighthouse and the end of civilisation. Instead I kept this for another day, with the owner’s recommendation that her husband had taken a shine to this particular release hence it rapidly disappearing. At £8.75 for a 35ml measure, I felt this was a fair price and if I do like this Neist Point, then I may fork out for the full thing. They also do a tasty soup and an excellent array of baking.
Bottled at 45.8% strength, this will be chill filtered and artificially coloured; things that don’t fit within the natural beauty across the Isle of Skye.
Talisker Neist Point – review
Colour: golden crunch creams
On the nose: a pungent bonfire initially with a pile of salt infused driftwood burning on a coastal beach. Charcoal and liquorice follow before a rich balsamic steps in. The main body consists of the smoked oak with some vanilla and orange peel. It’s a thug-life nose in reality as beyond this apparel there’s little subtlety or depth.
In the mouth: now that’s interesting as there’s a burst of fruity sweetness that is soon swamped by the smoke cloud and coastal spray. It does have a prolonged finish of smoked pepper that reaches out long after the dram is gone. Going back into the void, there’s little else to add; toasted pine nuts and vanilla are all that come to mind.
Given the asking price this is very disappointing. Even if this was pitched around the £40 price point, I’d still recommend the 10-year-old as the better dram. It’s very much style over substance with a lovely bottle harbouring danger within. This is very frustrating as the aforementioned 10 and the lovely 18-year-old are excellent whiskies, but these No Age Statements water down the legacy of this great distillery. A couple of years ago I put together a rewarding Talisker Vertical and since then I’ve picked off whatever bottlings I can included the Skye and Distillery Exclusive. There’s plenty of choice out there, but be wary of the rocky hazards!