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Scotch

Talisker Glacial Edge 45-Year-Old

$5,000

OVERALL
RATING

8

Whisky Review: Talisker Glacial Edge 45-Year-Old

Tasting Notes:

About:
Aged 45 years and finished in ice-fractured oak casks; bottled at 49.8% ABV; priced at $5,000.
Appearance:
A gorgeous golden amber in glass reflects the decades of time passed in the cask. Legs in glass are of good quality, and viscosity is excellent.
Nose:
Rich maritime notes drift into my nose as I sniff, evoking memories of days at the beach. There’s sea salt, butterscotch, warmed apple, and pineapple floating along in the current with honey and apricot.
Palate:
Slight hints of mineral and salinity play over my tongue, joined by a rich sweetness of tropical fruits and apple pie. Some warmed Hawaiian rolls, grape lollipops, and butterscotch weave their way into the fray as well. This is a very bizarre but extremely appealing flavor mix – the influence of the ice-fractured finishing, perhaps?
Finish:
It goes down with a bit of brine and minerality, though not in an I just swallowed a bunch of seawater kind of way. It leaves a dry note in the back of my throat that holds out for a long time.
Comments:
Overall, I really liked this whisky and its unorthodox cask-finishing approach. In considering all factors, price included, however, it doesn’t fully align with getting a closer to perfection score. It is appealing but not appealing enough to match its dollar value.

Editor’s Note: The party behind this whisky gave us a review sample. Per our editorial policies, this in no way influenced the outcome of this review. It should also be noted that clicking the buy link in this review earns our site a small referral payment, which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

The Talisker distillery, a more well-known Scottish distillery established back in 1830, is considered one of the more remote whisky makers in its part of the world due to its location on the windswept coast of Scotland’s Isle of Skye. It is said this brand has a heritage rooted in adventure, which certainly seems to be at the heart of its higher-end Xpedition Series.

The whisky I’m reviewing today, Talisker Glacial Edge 45-Year-Old, is part of this series and follows on the heels of Talisker Xpedition Oak 43-Year-Old, released in 2021 and aged in casks that used wooden staves that crossed the Atlantic, and Talisker Forests of the Deep 44-Year-Old, released in 2023 and influenced by staves brought onboard an expedition to one of the world’s most extensive kelp forests. It was finished in barrels charred with sustainably farmed sea kelp.

For this new 45-year-old offering, 12 of the distillery’s heavily charred American Oak casks used to age this whisky were taken on a glacial voyage into the frozen lands of Canada’s ice fields. A specialized cooper removed the ends of the casks, exposing them to sub-zero temperatures and biting Arctic winds for 96 hours. This allowed, according to Talisker, “the extreme cold to fracture the wood, which in turn increased the surface area of the casks, altering the liquid’s interactions with the casks during the finishing period in Scotland.”

What one should expect from this, at least according to distillery officials, is an older Scotch with greater complexity and a “unique untamed flavor.” While I don’t know about that pre-tasting, what I can say is unique about this expression up front is it is the first-ever 45-year-old offering from them, and also that a portion of its sales is being donated to Talisker’s partner, Parley For the Oceans, which is focused on a mission of protection and preservation of marine ecosystems globally. The distillery has been working with them throughout this series to help raise awareness of how the planet’s ecosystems are interconnected.

Bottled at 49.8% ABV, just 2,455 bottles of Talisker Glacial Edge 45-Year-Old were released globally, with an MSRP in the United States of $5,000. A question that comes to mind immediately is how, if at all, finishing this in ice-fractured oak casks will affect the final flavor profile.

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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