The Whiskyphiles

Whiskyphile, noun [C] specialized / ˈwɪɪl / a disciplined devotion to whisky. Established 2013.


Talisker Distillery

Region: Highlands (Island), Scotland.

Founded: 1830

Status: Operational

Owner: Diageo

Water source: Cnoc nan Speireag

Ouput: 2.7 million litres alcohol per annum

Talisker distillery is an Island single malt Scotch whisky distillery based in Carbost, Scotland—the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. The distillery is operated by United Distillers and Vintners for Diageo, and is marketed as part of their Classic Malts series.


The distillery was founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, and built in 1831 at Carbost after a number of false starts on other sites when they acquired the lease of Talisker House from the MacLeod of MacLeod. The distillery was rebuilt 1880–87 and extended in 1900. When a new lease for the distillery was negotiated with the chief of Clan MacLeod in 1892 the annual payment was to be £23.12s and a ten-gallon cask of best-quality Talisker. It was rebuilt in 1960 after a stillhouse fire completely destroyed the distillery. The distillery operates five stills; two wash stills and three spirit stills. All the stills use worm tubs (condensing coils) rather than a modern condenser, which are believed to give the whisky a “fuller” flavour (itself an indication of higher sugar content). During this early period, the whisky was produced using a triple distilling method, but changed to the more conventional double distilling in 1928. Talisker was acquired by Distillers Company in 1925 and is now part of Diageo. After the 1960 fire, five exact replicas of the original stills were constructed to preserve the original Talisker flavour. In 1972 the stills were converted to steam heating and the maltings floor was demolished. Talisker’s water comes from springs directly above the distillery via a network of pipes and wells.

The malted barley used in production comes from Muir of Ord. Talisker has an unusual feature—swan neck lye pipes. A loop in the pipes takes the vapour from the stills to the worm tubs so some of the alcohol already condenses before it reaches the cooler. It then runs back in to the stills and is distilled again. Talisker now has an annual output of three and a half million litres of spirit.

Talisker was the favourite whisky of writers Robert Louis Stevenson and HV Morton. In his poem “The Scotsman’s Return From Abroad”, Stevenson mentioned “The king o’ drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, Islay, or Glenlivet.”

Talisker Whisky Reviews:

  • talisker-10-year-old-whisky Talisker 10 Years Old ~ 45.8% (Diageo) - Review: Talisker 10 Years Old Category: Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky Origin: Talisker Distillery Bottling: Diageo ABV: 45.8% Cost: £33.71 from Master of Malt What they say: From Talisker is the only Single Malt Scotch Whisky made by the sea on the shores of the Isle of Skye, one of the most remote, rugged, […]
  • Talisker 17 Years Old 1979 14.3 ~ 64.3% (SMWS) - Talisker 17 Years Old 1979 – 14.3 ~ 64.3% (SMWS) Island single malt scotch whisky 64.3% ABV Score: 92/100 What they say: Cask No. 14.3 Distilled in March 1979 and matured for 17 years before bottling in September 1996 at 64.3% ABV What I say: As part of my attempts to sample every SMWS distillery […]
  • talisker_18YO Talisker 18 Years Old ~ 45.8% (Diageo) - Talisker 18 Years Old Island single malt scotch whisky 45.8% ABV, £73.81 at Master of Malt Score: 88/100 What they say: TALISKER 18 YEAR OLD “When first nosed there was fruit, a lot of it: plums, orange peel, a richer sweeter experience than expected. Adding water brought out the Talisker of old: seaweed, smoke, low […]
  • talisker-dark-storm Talisker Dark Storm ~ 45.8% (Travel retail exclusive) - Talisker Dark Storm Island single malt scotch whisky 45.8% ABV, £44.99 for 1L from World of Whiskies Score: 79/100 What they say: Tasting Notes Talisker Dark Storm is a 45.8% single malt Scotch matured in heavily charred oak casks for flavours of blackcurrant, liquorice and powerful smoke. The nose is quite clean and fresh. There is […]
  • talisker-neist-point-whisky Talisker Neist Point ~ 45.8% (Diageo) - Whisky Review: Talisker Neist Point Category: Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky Origin: Talisker Distillery Bottling: Diageo ABV: 45.8% Cost: £92.40 buy from Master of Malt What they say: Talisker Neist Point Named after the headland on the Isle of Skye’s westernmost shore, Neist Point’s depth of flavour showcases the Talisker distillery’s supreme skill and flair […]
  • Talisker-Port-Ruighe-single-malt-scotch-whisky Talisker Port Ruighe ~ 45.8% (Diageo) - Talisker Port Ruighe Island single malt scotch whisky 45.8% ABV, £45 for 70cl Score: 85/100 What they say: Talisker Port Ruighe Double matured in port casks, this malt is a toast to the Scottish traders who braved the high seas and were instrumental in founding the port wine trade, shipping it to the world. ‘Port […]
  • talisker-skye-whisky Talisker Skye ~ 45.8% (Diageo) - Whisky Review: Talisker Skye Category: Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky Origin: Talisker Distillery Bottling: Diageo ABV: 45.8% Cost: £40.24 buy from Master of Malt What they say: Talisker Skye The Isle of Skye is renowned for its rich, varied landscape – from its soft, serene shores to the dark, jagged peaks of the Cuillin mountains. […]
  • talisker-storm-whisky Talisker Storm ~ 45.8% (Diageo) - Whisky Review: Talisker Storm Category: Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky Origin: Talisker Distillery Bottling: Diageo ABV: 45.8% Cost: £40.00 buy from Master of Malt What they say: Talisker Storm Talisker Storm offers the drinker Talisker’s full maritime majesty, all unfettered elemental power and confidence. In a sentence… An intensely dark, smoky, more brooding Talisker with swirling notes of […]
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