Review // TALISKER 15 (Diageo “Rare by Nature” 2019 Special Releases)

December 1, 2019

One of the pleasures of visiting whisky fairs, is that you can taste and take home samples of whiskies that are utterly divine. Thanks to the Belgian and Dutch brand ambassadors of Diageo, I was able to take home a sample of Talisker 15, one of the special releases in the “Rare by Nature” collection of Diageo. I took the liberty of writing a couple of words, though the whisky really speaks for itself.

In early Autumn, Diageo delighted us with the 2019 Special Releases of 8 classic whisky brands from some of the most renowned distilleries in Scotland. These cask strength single malt Scotch whiskies were hand selected by Master Blender Dr. Craig Wilson. Dubbed “Rare by Nature“, the focus of these whiskies, both aesthetically and olifactory, lies on the rugged, pure landscapes Scotland has to offer. The collection includes a 14 year old Cardhu 14-Year-Old, a 12 year old Cragganmore, a 30 year old Dalwhinnie, a 12 year old Lagavulin, a 26 year old Mortlach, a 29 year old Pittyvaich, a 18 year old The Singleton of Glen Ord, and finally a 15 year old Talisker, which I’ll be reviewing below.


The Talisker 15 is the first ever release of Talisker as a 15 year old, matured only in freshly charred American oak hogshead.

When I first sniffed the dram that I had poured myself, I was greeted with a pleasant and inviting scent, which quickly opened up to smoked wood notes, with some hints of peat. I formed a mental image of a warm, malty dram, with some distant sugarbread right in the back. Tasting the dram, I noticed that this expression was sweeter than I expected. The spice is nicely sprinkled around. Next, I tasted notes of freshly baked bread. As a finish, the whisky opens up the palate again with aspects of mint, not as a pure flavour, but as a sensation in the mouth. I enjoyed the full flavour pattern of this whisky: smoky, malty, a little sugary, then finally fresh and vibrant.

This whisky hints at a little spice, but stays beautifully in the center of the palate, offering up little sparkles of flavour which are jumping out of the central campfire. In the end, it is best described as a thick, multi-layered warm blanket in a bottle. The separate sensations all swirl around in your mouth, offering a tasting experience that is ever in motion. Definitely one of my favourites of this year.

A Mental Holiday: Sitting on a boat, sipping Talisker 15.

Photographs are © Diageo and © Whisky im Bild

    Leave a comment