Talisker 8 Year Diageo 2020 Special Release

Scotch Whisky Review #317: Talisker 8 Year Diageo 2020 Special Release

Distillery: Talisker.

Region: Island.

Age: 8 Year. Bottled in 2020.

ABV: 57.9% Cask Strength.

Cask Type: Caribbean Rum Cask Finish.

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/bradbobaggins.

Color: 0.2, Pale Straw.


Nose: It’s a bit firey with a lot of the alcohol coming through. Malt barley, a hint of peat smoke, and lemons make up most of the nose when you get past the booziness. Just a hint of salty sea air comes through as well.

Palate: Much like the nose suggests, it needs dilution. At full strength, it’s hot and really flavorless. With a bit of water, the lemons come through a lot with a bit of smoke. There’s a note that I can only describe as burnt chocolate behind that all. I did try adding a little more, but not a lot of changed.

Finish: Quite long. Barbecue smoke dominates here.


Conclusion: I’ve been on a bit of a Talisker kick lately. Every time I see it at a bar, I’ve been ordering some so I was really excited to try this cask strength version. I have to say, I am left incredibly disappointed. The whisky is fire-y and lacking a lot in flavor. Talisker’s signature maritime notes that I’ve been craving are all but absent except for a whiff in the nose. The finish is great, but really this all came across as simplistic and unmemorable. Perhaps my palate was off when I tried it, though I had checked it and it checked out fine, or a plethora of other reasons, whatever Diageo did here just didn’t resonate with me. The rum casks didn’t come through, Talisker’s distillery spirit didn’t come through, and I’m left with a whisky that’s decent but not one I’ll consider buying a bottle of.

Final Score: 74.


Scotch Whisky Review #317, Island Review #49, Whisky Network Review #460


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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