Talisker is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye in the group of the Inner Hebridian Islands. It produces a peated, very spicy Single Malt Scotch.
The Whisky of the Talisker distillery is very spicy and the distillery character is often described to have a chili catch. The spicy character is most prominent in the main distillery bottling the Talisker 10 year old. There are a lot of whiskies that have been matured in Amoroso sherry casks to make the Scotch a bit milder and sweeter. The whisky is peated and has a phenol content of 20 to 25 ppm. Unfortunately most of the younger whiskies from the Talisker distillery are coloured.
The production capacity of the distillery is between three to four million liters of alcohol per year. This rose a lot over the last two decades, due to the high popularity of the Talisker Scotch whisky. The water for the distillery comes from the Burn am Cnoc nam Speireag.
The Talisker distillery has five pot stills. These are divided into two wash stills with 10,000 liters and three spirit stills with about 7,500 liters. The the three wash stills have a reflux bowl and are rather tall. The lyne arm is completely horizontal with a 90° crank at the end. The three smaller spirit stills don't have any reflux bowl or constricting piece. In addition the stills are rather short and are mainly responsible for the spicy distillery character. The alcohol fumes are condensed in the old traditional copper worm tubs. The worm tubs are still very common in the Scottish distilleries.
Unfortunately the malting floors of the Talisker have been demolished in 1972. The mashtun is already made of stainless steel with a copper lid to reduce the heat dissipation.
The warehouses of the distilleries are rather flat. Most of the casks are stored only two rows high. Also the the warehouses are close to or exactly next to the Atlantic ocean.
The excise act during the 1820s and means that the Talsiker distillery was never in the illegal whisky distilling business. In 1863 the distillery was bankrupt. Later in 1880 the distillery picked up business again and the new tenant Alexander Grigor Allan brought the distillery to new success. During the years of the second world war the distillery was closed due to a shortage of barley.
In 1960 a great disaster struck when the still-house burned down. It was rebuilt and opened in 1962. During the year of 1972 the distillery was renovated and modernized. The malting floors were closed and the stills were changed to steam heating that replaced the old coal heating. During the 1990s and the turn of the millennium the Talisker Scotch became more famous and the annual output of the distillery was increased from 1.5 million liters of alcohol to the present 3.5 million liters.
The shops and the visitor center is very nice and informative. There are three distillery tours. The top tour includes a extensive tasting and include a full tour through the distillery. Since 1995 there is a bridge to the Scottish mainland and allows the people to visit the distillery by car.