There i was, back at my local drug dealer, oops, sorry, whisky merchant ready to delve deaper into the complexity that i found in Talisker - this time with a Old Malt Cask bottleing of Tactical 23y, this, as it says on the label, from the Isle of Skye itself.
Now previous experience with OMC has always been good, so no doubt so should this have been.
Disappointment, and this time i don't think there is any excuses, i should have read the tasting notes on this site and the various forum messsages.
Suffice to say that the Tactical is, as it so rightly states on the bottle, dry and oaky, but not in a nice way. Its a very deep colour for a whisky that has no colouring added, dark like dark rum rather than caramel dark.
At 50% there is a strong hit of alchohol, a dash of water takes the edge off. I tried the 23 seconds in the mouth trick for the 23 years but could not do it - it burnt like Listerine ( mouthwash!).
My first taste impression was of the oaky, corky taste of a bottle of red wine that had been "corked" A dry, blotting paper sort of taste on the tongue.
Suffice to say, I have returned to this site and found very little on the 23y but lots on the 20y - distilled at the same time - Jan 1982 but this bottled in 2005 and nothing really positive.
Overpowering sharp taste, surgical spirits sort of bite, gets you at the back of the tonque with the aftertaste.
So, for comparison, i poured a dram of Talisker, 18y, and there it was - WARMTH.
The Talisker, much lighter in colour, 45% so i added less water, has the warmth, the character that allowed for various tastes and "feel" to develop, something that was completely lacking in the Tactical.
So, the Tactical is my first " by comparison" bottle that will be used at future whisky tastings as an example of what a great whisky should not be, and to serve the purpose that not all is what its dressed up to be on the label. Sure is a pity that one is not allowed to taste a bottle before purchasing - or take it back afterwards!
So, lesson learnt, research first, but then does it not take away from the discovery???
We tasted a Tactical 25yo followed by the OB 18yo. The 18yo "won" almost without contest - a much better bottling by far.
Strange that the DL can't seem to get it right with Talisker. Or is it just my personal taste.... what do others think ?
In response to C_I's comment, most IBs have to deal with the casks they have, but we don't fall into that category. We have come to the Single Cask market from a blend background, and so have a vast quantity of Single Malts at our disposal as they've been bought by us at the time of filling, and are matured on site until we feel they are good enough.
As for the Tactical being a dissapointment, we don't bottle to try and create a comparison to the OB, we are bottling what we feel to be great examples of whisky that are unique from the OB. Both Fred, the MD, and myself taste every single sample before bottling, and will not bottle unless we are 150% certain of it's quality. However, not everyone's tastes are the same.
I can only hope that you've not been put off by your experiences, and you are still inclined to purchase Douglas Laing in the future, as we personally feel we're bottling great quality casks.
Thanks for letting us know your thoughts, and i'll keep my fingers crossed that you enjoy your next DL bottling!
Susan @ Douglas Laing.
it is good to hear from DL directly on an issue like this. Thank you Susan. Personal taste in fact is nothing you can argue about. I have tried many great bottlings of DLs and have had no experience like Laurentius. I do not want to offend Laurentius but I think that his remark about learned lessons is irrelevant because from such an experience there is not lesson to be learned! Jan´s comment that he found the 18 OB better is just a case to match. I do not think that it is fair to conclude that DL can not get it right with Talisker.
Not on the foundation of individual and highly personal impressions.
I thanked DL for speaking out on an issue like quality of a bottling of a certain malt in relation to choice comments of participants in this forum coming from their personal tastes. Of course we all know, that there is not really an issue .
I do not think that it is fair to conclude that DL can not get it right with Talisker.
Not on the foundation of individual and highly personal impressions.
However, I'll need to hear quite a few opinions to the contrary to consider buying a bottle now, which is a big part of what this board is about is it not ?
I have had some fabulous DL whiskies, including the Port Ellen and Bunnahabhain you took to Whisky Fringe and an excellent Glenugie. I have also tried a couple that tasted a bit over age (Ballindalloch 40yo and a Platinum Old and Rare Port Ellen).
And yes, Kallaskander and others, It was unfair and hasty of me to try to draw any conclusion regarding the Tactical bottlings based on one disappointment. Sorry about that.
I have had other DL bottlings I liked a lot and am looking forward to the next opportunity to sample a DL expression.
And to Kallaskander, the lessons learnt for me was that a little bit of reading and a little bit of thought needs to go into my purchases, not just an impulse buy based on assumptions of region and geography. The disappointment was less in the Tactical and more in myself for making the same "mistake" twice in a row, first with Scapa and then with Tactical. I would be interested to know, Kallaskander, what your opinion of the Tactical is, on its merits as a whiskey, irrespective of who bottled it.
But, live and learn, as i have come to realize that each tasting expands the knowledge and experience and as i am but a novice in this space i may, in time, get to appreciate the Tactical for what it is and not for what i had expected it to be.
bamber wrote:Most of us hold DL and Talisker in high regard but If you guys have had two bad bottles of Talisker bottled by DL we want to hear about it.
I agree! I am a huge fan of DL whiskyies, but I seem to remember Admiral saying something about a poor bottling of OMC Tactical...
I've tried lots of DL bottlings and have only had one or two that I didn't like.
hello Laurentius, it has been a while that I tasted the Tactical 23 years and the Tactical 31 years from DL. So my memories may be mixed a bit here.
If I remember right, then the 23 years took a lot of time to develop in the glass, the sherry really almost overpowering the malt. When the malt came through finally there was spice and a kind of subdued peat. "Undecided and probably bottled too late" was what I thought most probaly. The 31 years was much more rounded, harmonic all components much better connected and on the contrary not very much on the sherried side. I liked the 31 years better but did not find it very typical Talisker.
As I said, it has been a while and I write that from memory.
Hopefully Laurentius comments will start a panic and everybody starts discounting their bottles of this dram so I can pick one up on the cheap ( I doubt it though )
As some on this forum have said there is no such thing as a bad malt and I'm begining to see where that comment comes from.
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