Talisker 8 Year Old (Special Release 2018)

Talisker at 8 years old and cask strength can only mean one thing, it’s the special release 2018 time.. Ok so I am a little late but as they say it’s better late than never..

Each year Diageo release a series of  highly anticipated limited cask strength bottles that are said to highlight the individual distillery flavour perfectly. These bottlings are probably some of the best whiskies available within the Diageo portfolio, once announced the whisky world goes into overdrive, the quality is generally second to none and generally has some of the rarest whisky available from within the companies impressive empire.


Each expression is carefully picked, each cask is also individually selected for its typical in-house style before marrying into small limited batches of single malts, single grains or blended malts.

This years special releases has some real gems from some of Diageo’s finest distilleries including a 48 year old Carsebridge, 35 year old Caol Ila and of course this 8 year old Talisker to name just a few.

This year I have been extremely lucky to get hold of a set in order to bring you most of the releases in my own mini series of reviews.

I decided to do the reviews individually as each expression deserves its own spotlight and feature, after all these are the “special releases”


The first review will be for this Talisker 8 year old which is a real throw back to years gone by when younger malts from Talisker were more normal and an 8 yo Talisker would have taken pride of place in any whisky drinkers cabinet..

The Talisker distillery was founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill and built in 1831, with a capacity to produce 3.3 million litres of alcohol per year the distillery is certainly one of the most iconic brands within the industry.

The 8yo always had pride of place in the core range from the 1960’s right up to 1987, with a bottling strength of 45.8% it is certainly sadly missed in today’s market.


Bottled at a natural cask strength of 59.4% abv and selected from first fill ex bourbon  hogsheads this Talisker is hopefully as rugged as any of the expressions coming from the fabled Isle of Skye..

Nose.. A real instant fruit infused smoke bomb.. Obviously there is a huge explosion of peat smoke but with that said after some time it does fade slightly,  there is then a real intriguing array of fruits and sweet notes, fresh apples, berries and pineapple before a honeyed richness wraps itself around the ashy aromas from the dying fire, spices then make a slight appearance towards the end..

Palate.. Instantly that typical Talisker peppery note is evident with drying smoke and the taste of burnt toast. The charred oak is there with a little ginger and cinnamon along with some vanilla, toffee and stewed apples but this is all about the heat and smoke.


Finish.. Lingering smoke and oak tannings.

Thoughts.. Everything about this dram is what put me off peated malts when I first started on my whisky journey but now it just draws me in, the rugged flavours and unpredictable nature of the whisky is just like the shoreline of Skye itself..

There is an intense smoke that dominates but at the same time just allows enough of the other aromas and flavours through to allow you to understand this malt..


A full bodied whisky that is complex, sexy and makes you question why the hell don’t they release something like this all the time.  A throw back to the days when whisky put hairs on your chest and made the room smell of bonfire.

This was released with an RRP of around £70 and is unfortunately getting harder to find..

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