[melodically] “It’s the most won-der-ful time… of the year…”
New edition time, y’all! Glenmorangie will soon be releasing their Private Editions (reviewed here by Mark, and also here, oh, and here as well). Macallan will gift us the fifth installment of their Edition series (#3 reviewed by Mark here, after #2 here, and the first here). Simultaneously, Diageo brings us the Distillers Editions from the Six Classic Malts collection (Mark took on the 2015 release from Lagavulin, here).
The seven links in the prior paragraph might tell you something: there are too damn many of these! At $100/bottle for the Glenmorangie releases and $110 for the most recent installment of the Macallan lot, the industry is stretching to capture wallet share with a product that has been both hit and miss. I personally rank the Glenmorangie Finealta release from 2013 as one of the better whiskies I have ever tasted.I liked Artein a bit less, and Milsean less still. I was more “meh” on the Macallan Editions, though I see Mark enjoyed them quite a bit.
Also, can we discuss how these all have “Edition” in the name? Way to differentiate, guys! The Glenmorangie “Private Edition” is the most ludicrous of the bunch, as it seems to be available in literally every bottle shop I frequent. Reminds me of the old Mitch Hedberg bit: “I order the club sandwich all the time, but I’m not even a member, man. I don’t know how I get away with it.” Private, indeed! These releases are allegedly limited, though my dad’s cynical refrain echoes in my head: “Limited to the amount they think they can sell.”
Anyway, the reason I cherish this time of year is not because I relish in running out and burning my hard-earned Benjamins on the bottle of the moment – far from it. The real appeal of this season is that there is typically plenty of older stock on the shelves, and the savvier retailers now start discounting last year’s bottles in order to clear shelf space for the newcomers.
Pro tip: it doesn’t taste any worse for having sat on the shelf for 11 months! I am happy to be badly passéin enjoying the prior release, and in having saved a chunk of change in my obstinate refusal to buy into the annual hype-fest. For those contrarians in the crowd: you are being given the golden opportunity to be both out-of-step AND thrifty! You’re welcome.
Which brings me to today’s (in-no-way-timely) review: the Talisker 2017 Distillers Edition. This is a distillery reviewed frequently here at MALT, with the 2017 Distillery Exclusive (not to be confused) covered here by Jason, as well as in an epic vertical tasting, also by Jason. They’ve received poor marks for their NAS offerings, such as the Neist Point and Skye releases, both disdained by Jason.
My local recently cut the price of this from $95 to $70, bringing the price in-line with the core 10 year old, which was enough to tempt me to pick up a bottle. This was distilled in 2007 and bottled in 2017, making it 10-years-old-ish. It has been “double-matured” (known to us as “finished”) in Amoroso sherry casks, and is bottled at 45.8%.
Talisker The Distillers Edition 2017
Color: Medium dark burnt orange color.
On the nose: Very coastal nose, with maritime elements balanced by a buttery sweetness. There are swirling aromas of seashells and iodine singing harmoniously in a chorus with creamy notes from the Amoroso cask, and a very subtle orange creamsicle aroma.
In the mouth: A clean, austere, almost flat entrance gives way to a burst of bitter citrus fruit peel at midpalate. Finishing interminably with a hot, sweet and savory note of Texas BBQ sauce, this lingers with a smoky richness and a mouth-drying stony note.
Different than the Talisker 10, this is mainly about the interplay between smoke and creamy richness, rather than the breadth and depth of flavors there. At the discounted price, I find this an interesting digression into cask finishing from a distillery that I like very much indeed. However, I’d be reluctant to pay the $95 this commands on release, as it doesn’t really improve on the lower-priced and consistently reliable Talisker 10. But, as noted above, that’s not the point!