It was April 7, 2016.
I was particularly excited to be staying in the Bishopsgate ward in the old City of London due to the fact that one of London’s best whisky bars – Boisdale of Bishopsgate– was situated across the street from our hotel.
I had already enjoyed a few days of dry weather which allowed me to explore the Bishopsgate neighbourhood on foot with the camera.
This was the first day with wet weather which presented a perfect opportunity to spend the afternoon indoors sipping fine whiskies in one of London’s finest whisky bars.
I packed up the camera bag and ventured across the street to find myself a comfortable place at the bar.
The alleway entrance to Boisdale of Bishopsgate can be both dramatic and charming, depending on the time of day.
Visit during the day and you’ll find that each step down the quaint alley serves to separate you from the hectic activity of London’s financial district guiding you towards a quiet sanctuary of comfort, fine food and drink.
Visit during the darkness of night and you feel transported back in time to old Victorian London where horse and carriage ruled the roads and gas lamps lit the way.
I sat down at the corner of the bar. Barman Eddie greeted me. I introduced myself and requested the whisky menu. Eddie enthusiastically obliged.
I flipped through the comprehensive whisky menu scanning my options. My tastes in scotch whisky generally lean towards island and coastal highland single malts.
Then I saw it. The Talisker 18 jumped out at me so I decide to give it a try.
I have owned, and finished, bottles of Talisker Storm and Talisker 10. I enjoyed them a great deal and have heard great things about the 18 year old expression of Talisker.
I watch with eager anticipation as Eddie pours a measure.
I was immediately impressed with the Talisker 18.
The nose is fresh and clean like the coastal air that surrounds this island distillery with just a hint of smoke.
Upon taking a first sip the first thing I noticed was the whisky’s viscosity. It coats the mouth which is what you want from an older whisky.
Then concentrated layers of sweetness: toffee, biscuits and granola with some citrus balanced with some pepper and other mild spice notes. The finish is long with the familiar coastal briny character along with some mild smoke and more pepper.
This is one fantastic whisky.
Boisdale barman Eddie was doing a fine job helping me navigate the bar’s whisky menu and recommended I comparison taste the Talisker Distillers Edition. It was his opinion that the Talisker Distillers Edition offered more flavour and complexity than the 18.
I was intrigued. I decided to do a comparison.
I agreed with Eddie’s opinion. The Talisker Distillers Edition had an extra dimension of flavour versus the 18.
I was pleasantly surprised but not shocked as the Distillers Editions of Diageo’s premium whisky brands are well known for their quality and value.
This is a good example of price and age statement not necessarily representing a superior tasting whisky.
The Talisker Distiller’s Edition is also sherry aged which provides an additional layer of rich fruits with chocolate on the nose and on the palette. The finish is typical Talisker….long with just a hint of smoke and satisfying.
I’ve tasted a good selection of fine whiskies in the past. Both of these Taliskers are easily in my top ten. Both are very fine whiskies.
If I had to choose between the two I would select the Talisker Distiller’s Edition and save a few dollars in the process. But believe me. If I happen to come across a bottle of Talisker 18 for sale I’ll be extremely tempted to add it to my collection of classic 18 year old whiskies.
I also recommend these two very high quality scotch whiskies to anyone that would normally not choose a peated whisky. The Talisker 18 and Distiller’s Edition are both lightly peated with the Distillers Edition being the least smoky of the two.
A special thanks to barman Eddie for being a fantastic host, sharing his passion for fine whiskies and first class service.
Stay tuned for the second part of my whisky tasting experience at the Boisdale of Bishopsgate: The Balvenie 17 Double Wood vs Glendronach 12.