It’s quite likely I was openly drooling, browsing the display cases filled with single malt whiskies at the Talisker distillery in Carbost, Isle of Skye. After a short, but comprehensive tour of the distillery we were staring longingly at 35-year-old malts, while searching for a less expensive compromise.
“Are you here for the tasting?” a gentleman from the distillery asked us, Ali and I glanced conspiratorially at one another, possibly considering impersonating the lucky pair that had paid for the session.
“No” we replied in reluctant unison, returning to browsing for our purchases.
I chose a nice 18-year-old and some ships glasses, while Ali opted for a bottle of Talisker Storm and treated me to a new flask. As we turned to the counter to pay, the Talisker man approached us once more.
“Apparently, you are here for the tasting!” he assured us.
This time we looked at each other slightly surprised, even more so when the gentleman in the ticket office informed us the marketing team had booked us on the session. There are days, I’m very happy to be a travel blogger, thank you Talisker distillery team.
More than just a dram!
The tour had taken about an hour, we’d learned interesting facts regarding the distilling of my favourite tipple. The Talisker distillery is currently the only company producing single malts under the shadow of the Black Cuillin of Skye. It was both heartening and disappointing to hear that whisky distilling is doing so well that a further two distilleries have been given permission to be built on the island.
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Cool fact #1 Talisker whiskies are matured in charred, sherry or port casks for a minimum of 10 years. (Single malt whisky must be matured for at least 8 years). During this time a percentage of the whisky evaporates, this is known as “the angel’s share”.
Cool fact #2 The reason whiskies which have been matured longer, older whiskies are more expensive is not down to ingredients, but merely the longer it matures the more evaporates and smaller the amount of whisky to bottle.
On a day when we were treated to the weather normally associated with a Scottish summer, damp, dull and ‘dreich’, a visit to the distillery was a good call. Being afforded an unexpected tasting session, made it perfect, well for me anyway.
Our ‘whisky ambassador’ for the tasting session, like the earlier guide was unsurprisingly knowledgeable, but also entertaining, with plenty of amusing and interesting anecdotes to share.
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He was also generous with the measures, and as I was also drinking Ali’s share it was a very happy blogger that stumbled into the car sometime later. Still it was only lunchtime, time to find a good pub in Carbost, home of the Talisker distillery for a hearty roast lunch before exploring nearby Dunvegan.
It may have been the several drams recently enjoyed, but I found myself contemplating the folly of Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD. He may have felt justified in building a 73 mile long wall to prevent the “barbarians of the north” from invading the cities south of his wall, but did he really think it through? Potentially he was providing future generations of Scotsmen with an excuse for keeping their honey coloured, warming, sometimes fiery, sometimes peppery, sometimes peaty, nectar out of our reach.
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Fortunately, potential catastrophe avoided, however, there may be a future warning there for our American friends regarding tequila!
Talisker Classic Distillery Tour Adults: £8.00/ Children: (8-17) £3.00 (from 6th March 2017 £10 & £5 respectively) The adult admission charge includes a discount voucher redeemable in our distillery shop towards the purchase of a 70cl bottle of malt whisky, as well as the opportunity to taste of our award winning Talisker Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The guided tour takes approximately 45 minutes.
Talisker Flight Adults: £20.00 (from 6th March 2017 £25) A bolt-on tasting for those who want to experience some extra expressions of Talisker in a less formal setting or don’t have time to enjoy the full Tasting Tour. This tour will be run at noon on weekdays and will take approximately 1.5 hours. Included in the price is a discount voucher redeemable in the Distillery Shop against any 70cl bottle of Single Malt Whisky.
Talisker Tasting Tour Adults: £35.00 (from 3rd April 2017 £40) This is an in depth tour of the Distillery followed by a tutored Tasting of 5 expressions of Talisker. Included in the price is a discount voucher redeemable in the Distillery Shop against any 70cl bottle of Single Malt Whisky and a complimentary nosing glass. The tour takes approximately 2 hours and will normally be available weekly, Monday to Friday, at 1.30pm. from April until October (please enquire outwith these months)