In follow-up, I spoke with Diageo’s head of whisky outreach, Dr Nick Morgan, about the reasoning behind releasing a non-age statement whisky at this particular time. That piece can be found here.
I’ve now had the chance to sample the whisky a few times to get a better idea of its nuances. I’ve also compared it to the company’s other entry level whisky, Talisker 10, a bottle of which I nicked from a mate who wasn’t particularly fond of it, having come to the decision that no smoky whisky is for him (I’m hoping to change his ways, of course).
As background, the Talisker Storm is meant to be a sort of big brother to the Talisker 10. It is a non-age statement whisky created from a mix of rejuvinated and refill casks and costs around £40.
The colour is of golden coins and the nose has a great creamy buttery smokiness to it that I found instantly appealing. There’s a slight biscuity sweetness that wafts up at first, followed by lemon and dusty hay notes.
The 10, in comparison, seems more floral on the nose when they’re side by side and slightly lighter in weight (if smells can be weighed?). There is less creaminess and it is surprisingly delicate given I’ve always considered it quite a powerhouse of a dram.
On the palate for the Storm, meanwhile, there was a nice fruity sweetness (stone fruits like apricots, peaches) with a rich chunk of rock salt lingering mid-sip. A dash of vanilla and a hint of fresh blades of grass all walk lightly over the smoky, savoury backbone, making it very satisfying.
Going back to the 10, the palate felt crisper and a bit more refreshing, with that lovely mix of vanilla sweetness, salty brine and earthy smoke.
In the end, it’s hard to say which I prefer. But I can conclude I’d like to keep both in my drinks cabinet. At only £8 more for the Storm, it is still a good buy but I’d recommend sampling them side by side if you can to see which you prefer. Neither are likely to disappoint.