If you’re a fan of Talisker, you’ll no doubt be familiar with their award winning single malt, 10 year old expression. Since 1989, it’s been a keystone bottle to the Skye distillery, thanks to its signature smoky, salty and peppery notes.
Back in 2013 however, the distillery began their first foray into a triplet of no-age-statement auxiliary whiskies. This includes Talisker Skye, Storm and Port Ruighe to accompany their coveted 10 year old. Having never tried any of these, I was curious to know more.
Designed to slot-in between their 10yo and their Distiller’s Edition, I’ve explored the Storm edition as I wanted to see how it stacked-up against their flagship 10 year old (a personal favourite of mine).
To compare Talisker Storm vs 10, here’s a quick overview.
Talisker Storm vs 10, Quick Look Comparison
Nose: Banana, BBQ & citrus
Palate: Wood smoke, brine & chilli
Mouthfeel: Thick, oily
Finish: Pepper & oak
Age: NAS (3-25 years)
Cask: Refill, toasted American oak
Chill filtered: Yes
Strength: 46% ABV / 92 proof
Price: £43 / $52
Talisker 10 yo
Nose: Smoke, fruit & maritime
Palate: Peat, pepper, barley & fruit
Finish: Long, malty & sugary
Age: 10 years (minimum)
Cask: American oak
Chill filtered: Yes
Strength: 46% ABV / 92 proof
Price: £45 / $53
A closer look at Talisker Storm
‘Storm’ was the first of three no-age-statement whiskies which was released in 2013. Each have their own nuances within the range, with the Storm edition exemplifying the darker, smokier aspects of the Carbost distillery character.
If you’re a fan of the island-style whiskies, the Storm takes-on a much bolder, brooding flavour profile with much more smoke, fire and peat than the typical Talisker taste. It’s certainly not in peat-monster territory, but its got more of that Islay-esque intensity.
Going by age alone, this whisky is at a ‘label disadvantage’ to the 10yo. But to combat this, they’ve married whiskies ranging between 3 and 25 years old. Not bad for an NAS bottle with, in my opinion, a good deal of balance to its overall smoky flavour.
Aroma: Opening the botte, this whisky has a complex aroma that is unmistakably Talisker. Aromas of savoury smoke and brine, along with a hint of black pepper, waft off the glass. Underneath these smoky notes are some unusually bright, sweet aromas of honey, apricot, honeysuckle and shortbread cookies. (A surprising bouquet for true Talisker fans who’re used to the usual smoky salinity!) There’s also a subtle nuttiness and maltiness in the nose that further adds to the complexity. As you’d expect, it also has a nice marine note on the nose, reminiscent of fresh oyster shells.
Flavour: On the first sip, this dram has a medium body and a slight burn on the tongue; presumably from the younger malts within. It also has salty and smoky flavours with hints of honey, malt, apricot, pear and honeysuckle. There is also some spice like black pepper and clove in the middle of drinking it. Compared to the Talisker 10, the Storm is comparably sweeter and far less assertive. If you’re used to the typical Talisker heat, it’s no where near the 10 yo.
Mouthfeel: Talisker Storm has an oily mouthfeel, with a medium to light body. The texture is quite light and gentle on the palate, with a slight viscosity that immediately coats the tongue. On the palate, it’s surprisingly mild despite its 46.8% ABV, leaving behind only subtle traces of spice and peat smoke. Talisker Storm is well-balanced between sweetness and smokiness, delivering an enjoyable experience with every sip.
Finish: The finish of Talisker Storm has a short(ish) smoky aftertaste with hints of spices, sweet fruit and oak wood. Stemming from the re-charred casks, there’s a lingering smoke taste with a dash of red chilli peppers and a dryness from the oak. There’s also a distinguishing ashy peat fire that lingers in the background.
Price: In my opinion, Talisker Storm is a well-balanced NAS whisky. It’s got a lovely tension between the younger, spicy, more fiery malts and the older, sweeter ones. For the price, it holds a strong position beneath the 10yo edition.
If you’re new to the marine whisky style, this would be a great option if you’re already familiar with the likes of Johnnie Walker Red label. As one of the whiskies within that blend, the Storm brings a charming floral sweetness which makes it incredibly easy to drink. Balanced with the smoky pepperiness, it’s worth considering for a slightly cheaper alternative to to 10 year old.
Considering the brand’s mantra “Made by the Sea” Talisker Storm pairs aptly with seafood dishes. I’d recommend supplementing it with oysters, smoked salmon, or prawns. The saline notes of this whisky is the perfect accompaniment for seafood.
If fish isn’t your thing, this whisky goes tremendously well with grilled steak. The smoky flavours go really well with almost any red meats, especially beef. Dare I say, this would a wonderful pairing with some sort of cured meat, charcuterie starter with a big old wedge of melon.
At the other end of the spectrum, a variety of different cheeses is also a great choice. The spicy notes of the whisky complement the creamy and salty flavours of the cheese. Try it with a sharp cheddar, a creamy brie, or a nutty gouda.
What is the best way to drink Talisker storm?
Talisker Storm is best enjoyed neat or with a few drops of water. The whisky can also be used in cocktails, such as a classic Whiskey Sour or an Old Fashioned. It is also a great choice for a Scotch-based hot toddy. Click the drop-downs below to see these cocktail recipes.
A closer look at Talisker 10 year old
For an entry-level single malt, this whisky deservedly gets plenty of hype. It’s a tremendous value-for-money bottle that deserves a permanent parking space in your drinks cabinet.
Disclaimer – I’m biased. But the 10yo from Talisker is a truly good whisky for its class. Consistently flirting around the £40 mark, it’s got serious bang for your buck. And speaking of bucks, around $50 USD isn’t a bad old price for you Americans either. As you can tell, I think this price point is a good deal. It affordably lets you under the skin of the Talisker character.
Aroma: Talisker 10 has a unique aroma that is composed of a variety of scents. It features typical Talisker notes of strong smoke and characterising maritime sea spray. Further into your glass, there’s intoxicating aromas of peat, smoke, ashes, butterscotch, toffee and dried fruit. For me, I also detect smell dried apricots and various citrus peels which really livens up the smell. If you’ve never tried this whisky, Talisker 10 reveals an intense combination of sweet and salty aromas that pack a punch.
Flavour: Immediately, Talisker 10 balances a trinity of black pepper heat, sea salt, and sweetness. It’s a marvellous balance between the three, each complimenting each other in a very moreish, spiced taste. Further in on the mid palate, the peatyness comes through with lighter flavours of citrus peels, grape jelly, butterscotch, and caramel which give way to candied ginger and liquorice. The taste ends with a bit of tartness which invites another sip.
If you prefer a little water in your dram, this does open things up. It takes off some that pepper heat and herbal peat, allowing the sweetness to come through a little more. With a slight dilution, you might enjoy the subtler, fruitier character of this whisky.
Mouthfeel: Talisker 10 has an oily, viscous mouthfeel. It is spicy and salty, but also sweet. Its heat and peatyness that can be felt on the tongue. Adding water to Talisker 10 makes it softer, smoother, and slightly sweeter.
Finish: For a whisky with such a big personality, the finish is surprisingly light, delivering only moderate warmth. Even so, that warmth just goes on and on. Talisker 10’s finish is initially sweet, leaving a mix of fruity and smoky flavours on the palate.
Price: Talisker 10 year old is widely available for around £38–£45 in the UK (or $53 USD) which makes it a great value whisky given its quality and complexity. This really is an incredible dram for your money.
Talisker 10 year old represents exceptional value for its price point with plenty of flavour to enjoy. It has a wonderful marine and peppery character that remains consistent from nose to finish, making it an ideal whisky for anyone looking to get into single malt scotch at an entry-level price point. If you’re looking to try Talisker for the first time, then the 10 year old bottle is a great place to start.
What food pairs well with Talisker 10?
Talisker 10 goes especially well with cheeses that have a strong flavour such as blue cheese or aged cheddar. The smokiness and saltiness of the whisky will bring out the flavours of the cheese and the sweetness of the whisky will help to balance out the sharpness of the cheese.
The smoky and salty flavours of Talisker 10 are the perfect accompaniment to grilled or smoked meats. Try it with barbecue ribs, smoked brisket, or a juicy steak. It will enhance the flavours of the meat and the sweetness will help to balance out the saltiness.
These are just a few suggestions for food pairings with Talisker 10. Experiment with different dishes to find the perfect combination for your taste.
The 10 year old is best enjoyed neat or with a few drops of water to release the fruitier, floral notes. However, this excellent whisky can also be used in cocktails, such as a Rob Roy, Rusty Nail or an indulgent champagne-charged 57. Click the drop-downs below to see these cocktail recipes.
Talisker Storm vs Talisker 10 Conclusion
Between these two whiskies, I’d still go with the Talisker 10 year old. For the marginal price difference, I think it’s a better overall dram with it’s exceptional nose and flavour profile. Compared to the Storm, it’s less sweet and packs more of the chilli heat and spice that make me so fond of this distillery.
However, as a fan of smoky whiskies, Talisker Storm brought a nice balance between young and old, spicy but sweet. There’s less depth in terms of florals and fruit, but overall its a very pleasant whisky. It just lacks that complexity of the 10 year old which, needless to say, has that age advantage which steals the show for me.
For peat lovers, both these bottles are fairly mild, but there’s certainly enough smoke and spice to keep your attention. When it comes to Talisker 10 vs storm, I’ll still stick with the 10 year old.
Is Talisker 10 better than Storm?
Talisker 10 year old whisky is regarded a a superior whisky due to its greater complexity and age. Having won San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2017 and World Whiskies Awards ‘Best Islands Single Malt’, it boasts a tantalising trio of smoke, salt and fruity barley sweetness.
Talisker Storm is a more affordable, no-age-statement whisky that balances smoky and spicy flavours. It’s made of whiskies ranging between 3 and 25 years which creates tension between more fiery youthful malts and older sweeter ones. Re-charred American Oak barrels intensify the smokiness for a more pungent Talisker taste.
Which Talisker whisky should I buy?
If you’re looking for a true representation of the Talisker distillery character, then Talisker 10 year old is the way to go. As their entry-level single malt, it showcases the black pepper heat, peat smoke and fruity sweetness that make it such a great value whisky. As just one of two distilleries on the Isle of Skye, it packs a marine saltiness that makes it a stand-out style for any whisky lover.
For little over £40 (around $53 USD) the ten year old single malt is a great bottle to buy. However, there are of course older, more mature options from the Talisker distillery including their 11, 15, 18, 25 and 30 year expressions. Each have won numerous awards with the 18 year old taking ‘Best Single Malt Whisky in the World 2007’ at the World Whiskies Awards.
What age is Talisker storm?
Talisker Storm is a no-age-statement whisky made up of Talisker malts that range between 3 and 25 years old. Slightly peated with elevated smokiness, it’s positioned between their Distiller’s Edition and widely revered 10 year old expression. As an NAS whisky, it offers Talisker lovers the chance to enjoy a Talisker with a heavy helping of smoke and salt, just without an age tag.
Which Talisker is Smokey?
Talisker is known for it’s range of mildly smoky single malt whiskies, each with low phenol levels of around 18-20 PPM. Each Talisker expression has a smoky flavour, with the smokiest being their NAS Storm edition released in 2013. This whisky is matured in re-charred ex-bourbon American Oak casks which elevate the charcoal and ashy notes within.
Which Talisker is peaty?
Talisker uses peated barely from Glen Ord Central Maltings to make all their whiskies. The most peated Talisker expression is their 10 year old bottle with mild phenolic levels of 16-22 PPM. By today’s standards (with the likes of Bruichladdich’s Octomore) Talisker isn’t that heavily peated. This mild level of peat allows the salty, sweeter notes come through for a well-balanced dram.