For this exceptionally well-aged expression, Talisker partnered with Parley, a non-profit organisation that protects marine ecosystems around the world. Talisker 44 Year Old ‘Forests of the Deep’ stayed in “marine oak casks” for some time.
Cask staves were on board of Parley’s expedition ship, heading for sea kelp forests the Cape of Good Hope. Then, back in Scotland, the timber was formed into ten casks. They were charred using a small amount of sustainably-farmed Scottish sea kelp and stave wood shavings.
This new bottling takes the place of the Talisker 43 Years ‘Xpedition Oak’ as the oldest release from this distillery, adding an extra maritime character along the way.
Talisker 44 yo ‘Forests of the Deep’ (49,1%, OB 2022, marine oak casks, 1997 btl.)
Nose: it starts really fresh, with citrusy notes coming out first. Lemon zest, lemongrass and yuzu. Then a tangy maritime smell appears, with fisherman’s nets, oysters and some fresh seaweed indeed. Salted peanuts with white pepper. Later heathery notes and rosemary come forward. Subtle resinous touches, as well as some light ashes in the background. Slightly more high-pitched than I expected, but pretty superb.
Mouth: a fairly oily combination of citrusy notes (zests and crystallized lemon) with black peppercorns and drops of herbal extracts. Then heady resinous notes again, with candle wax and a touch of aniseed. After a while iodine and seaweed become louder, with growing salty notes and warm spice. Very light cinnamon and cocoa sweetness underneath.
Finish: long, on ashy notes and lingering peppery warmth. In the end sweet and salty notes are fighting for attention.
The salty, umami-driven notes are really leading this Talisker. It is the kind of whisky that requires a nearby shore to make the biggest impression. Yet even behind my computer it makes me deeply happy, with an impressive freshness and vibrant character. In short, another masterpiece from Talisker.