Talisker - Made by the Sea
May 3, 2018
One of the triumvirates of whiskies that Robert Louis Stevenson claimed to be the king of drinks.
A classic Scotch whisky distillery located on the Isle of Skye, with the H2O for their single malts being sourced directly from the springs above the distillery and their swan neck lye pipes, which make some of the alcohol condense before reaching the cooler to be distilled again.
Matured in American oak cask, which gives Talisker its idiosyncratic complex aromas and flavours are enhanced by a medium peating level.
Now,Talisker is not unknown to your humble narrator – the 18-year old variety has been one of my long-term favourite single malts, so one anticipated great things from the evening at Neighbourhood Bondi, which was going to introduce both connoisseurs and the uniniated to the range of Talisker’s offerings along with curated food pairings.
Neighbourhood Bondi, under the benign guidance of the charismatic Simon McGoram, known from having been the helm of Gardel’s Bar in Surry Hills, is a gem of a bar: Unpretentious yet with depth, stylish yet unimposing with welcoming and knowledgeable staff that makes you feel at ease.
The backyard of Neighbourhood Bondi with its retractable roof proved to be the ideal location for a night of quality drops under the stars.
Culinary delights came courtesy of Matt Ouwerkerk, who heads the Highgate food and beverage team in Canberra, and who has not only become known for his low carb yet highly flavourful and protein rich share plates but also for his credo to deliver casual dining experiences done well.
The four-course degustation - comprised of Smoked Trout, Warengo Oysters, Steamed Snapper and a Blue Cheese Bavarois – found its highlight in the outstanding Coffee Rubbed Beef, which was accompanied by the limited annual run of Talisker 18 Year Old:
Oh, Freude schöner Götterfunken!
What a drop!
Calibrated to perfection.
Butterscotch and toffee comes to mind. Honey and bacon. Smokey on the palate and an interesting emphasis on a spicy chili instead of a peppery finish.
A spectacular whisky that makes one lust for the elusive 25 and 30-year-old varieties.
Other Talisker highlights matches to the individual dinner courses included:
Skye is the more refined, sophisticated cousin of the Storm variety – the ship that has extracted itself from the stormy seas and sits in the harbour showing off its well-nuanced sweet, spicy and smoky traits. Great companion for the trout dish.
Talisker 10 Year Old
Smokey, peaty, interesting hints of saline, which being a Lagavulin aficionado pleases culminating in a black pepper explosion towards the back. If Lagavulin is a bit too much on the nose in terms of peatiness, this one is a more refined one for you. A pipette was proffered, which droplets could be poured onto the oysters for further refinement.
Now we are talking. Taking the 10 Year old up a notch or two in every aspect – richer, smokier, fruitier. Hints of vanilla and the trademark peppery flavours are enhanced by adding a couple of droplets of water. Maybe not a first choice for purists, but an intense one that lives up to its name and gave the snapper a bit of needed zing.
Talisker Distiller's edition
The Distiller’s edition rounded off the culinary part of the evening and, opened up with droplets of water, went well with the desert and the sweet and juicy fruit nuances came to the fore.
Photos courtesy of @k.a.vv