As some distilleries don’t allow independent bottlers to mention their name, Gordon & MacPhail invented the Secret Stills range. The ‘Isle of Skye’ clue gave it away though – the label doesn’t say Talisker but there’s only one distillery on Skye. This release was made up of three first fill sherry casks.
Talisker 21 yo 1986 (45%, G&M Secret Stills 2007, cask #1361-1363, 1860 btl.)
Nose: starts in a lovely old-fashioned style, with wet dogs, some garage smells and peat smoke. Nice coastal notes as well: seaweed and soft iodine. Then it grows less austere, with creamy sherry notes, some oranges, vanilla and chocolate. Makes me think of much older Ardbeg in a way. Delicious.
Mouth: a weakish, bittersweet attack with peat and Seville oranges. Some iodine again. Quite minty / herbal as well. Hints of liquorice and pepper.
Finish: medium length, with smoke, herbal notes and liquorice.
A Talisker with a great balance between peat smoke and half-sweet sherry. Still available in some places. Around € 100 in the UK and € 140 in Europe. It beats me why certain lovely releases stay on the shelves for such a long time!