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Talisker Distillery, Carbost, Isle of Skye

Scotch Missed. Talisker 10-year-old single malt whisky

On a summer trip to the Isle of Skye, the weather was typical. The rain began as soon as we crossed the Skye Bridge from Kyle-of-Lochalsh. Even the SatNag was defeated. There were soaking sheets of horizontal rain and thick fog all at once. Temperatures felt not far from freezing. Couldn’t see a thing from the car despite window wipers set on “frenzy”. Not a day for sightseeing. So what better way to keep warm and dry than by visiting Talisker, Skye’s oldest distillery?

Good Plan. Just a short journey and we’d be there. The only problem was that we appeared to be underwater. Was it left, right, or straight on? Knowing that Talisker is at LAT 57.18° N, LONG 21.24 ° W was no help at all. We never found Talisker that day. Instead, we miraculously found ourselves back at the Skye Bridge some hours later.  The rain stopped immediately we recrossed, of course. So we consoled our bedraggled selves with a wee dram in the pub.

Talisker, naturally.

The Talisker Distillery

The next day, the rain had cleared, the outlook fair. Undeterred by our previous experience, it was time to head back. This time, finding it was easy. Just go west, the distillery is on the coast at Carbost, on Loch Harport.

Talisker began in 1830 and these days is a flagship of the Diageo group. Their distillery tour and tasting come highly recommended.  My pick from their comprehensive range is their classic 10-year-old Single Malt. It regularly wins trophies and was once even voted “Best Drink in the World” (by, ahem, Maxim).

Talisker 10-year-old Single Malt


This single malt whisky is 45.8% ABV and big in every way. It’s über-whisky. Deep amber-red, the nose is enormous, spirity and pungent, with lots of smoke. Very full-bodied, oily and syrupy, it just explodes in the mouth. A smoky, malty palate, massive burning alcohol, seaweed and a long, long salt and black pepper finish. Frequently described as “volcanic”; it’s a rugged combo of land, sea and sky. Genuinely elemental.

It’s the single-malt equivalent of Douglas Adams‘ Pan-galactic gargle-blaster, described by him as “like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon, wrapped ’round a large gold brick.”

Talisker is fabulous on a cold, wet day. It’s an ideal Skye summer drink, then. I prefer to take mine with just a tiny splash of water to dilute it a little. Wimp that I am.

Sip gently and take your time, maybe while reading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy with some Comte cheese.

Widely available, expect to pay around £29.00 for a 70 cl bottle.

Why not pour a dram over your Haggis?

As has become the norm, Talisker offers many special editions and limited bottlings. Here’s one they did for the Isle of Eigg.

Like Single Malt Scotch?  Try this one.

Prefer Gin? Try these!


The Isle of Skye
IV47 8SR

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