What’s Neist Point you may ask? Well, it’s a landmark
situated on the Isle of Skye that Talisker calls home and has done for
centuries. Recently, I reviewed the Talisker Skye release where in greater
detail I speculated about the naming of these No Age Statement releases and the
true intent behind them.
Yes, I jest but it was a fun concoction to come up with and
top of the current No Age Statement Talisker portfolio is this Neist Point
bottling. The landmark in question is a remarkable setting at the northern end
of the island that is ravaged by gales and driving rain on a regular basis. Heading
towards this stunning setting that is already set upon the visual delight that
is the Isle of Skye, is an arduous voyage for any traveller. Skye is home to
some mighty roads, often just single track affairs with regular passing places
that many tourists fail to harness properly.
Keep heading north, through Glendale and then branching out
into the true wilderness and the clutch-burning ascent that is Neist Point.
Parking up at what feels like the road to nowhere, you’re left to walk across a
barren landscape towards the promise of sanctuary at the Neist Point lighthouse.
This causeway is also home to various rarely seen wildlife in the UK, as this
outcrop reaches out into the Atlantic Ocean and keep heading one way and you’ll
reach North America.
Such is its desolate feeling and remoteness at the far
reaches of civilisation that the location has featured in films such as 47
Ronin with Keanu Reeves and Breaking the Waves with Emily Watson. The walk
across to the lighthouse is not for the fainthearted with the cliff edges
fraught with danger and having already claimed the lives of those who stray too
close to the edge. The lighthouse itself was constructed in 1900 to warn
passing ships of the dangers of its coastline and became fully automated in
1990. There are various cottages but these are privately owned, but if you’re
on the Isle of Skye and want to visit the fringes of the United Kingdom or
Scotland depending on your point of view, then the effort to reach the
lighthouse is well worth it.
That’s the inspiration for this release sorted so let us
deal with the whisky at hand. This is a premium No Age Statement edition intended originally for the Travel Retail market and it promises to
harbour elements of hand-selected rare and matured Talisker stocks within the
Diageo portfolio. Much like Mortlach, there is no set definition from
the Scotch Whisky Association as to what constitutes rare or matured. Therefore,
these are marketing terms without the safety net of a defined meaning behind
them. Diageo’s idea of either could be vastly different from you or I. Price
can be an indicator with the Neist Point ranging from £90 to £110 depending on
where you look and shop; it’s already available out with the travel sector possibly
hinting that it has not been the raging success that Diageo intended.
I purchased a measure of Neist Point at the Café Lephin in
Glendale; it seemed apt given you’d have to cruise past on your way to the
lighthouse and the end of civilisation. Instead I kept this for another day,
with the owner’s recommendation that her husband had taken a shine to this
particular release hence it rapidly disappearing. At £8.75 for a 35ml measure,
I felt this was a fair price and if I do like this Neist Point, then I may fork
out for the full thing. They also do a tasty soup and an excellent array of baking.
Bottled at 45.8% strength, this will be chill filtered
and artificially coloured; things that don’t fit within the natural beauty
across the Isle of Skye.
Colour: golden crunch creams
Nose: a pungent bonfire initially with a pile of salt
infused driftwood burning on a coastal beach. Charcoal and liquorice follow
before a rich balsamic steps in. The main body consists of the smoked oak with
some vanilla and orange peel. It’s a thug-life nose in reality as beyond this
apparel there’s little subtlety or depth.
Taste: now that’s interesting as there’s a burst of fruity
sweetness that is soon swamped by the smoke cloud and coastal spray. It does
have a prolonged finish of smoked pepper that reaches out long after the dram
is gone. Going back into the void, there’s little else to add; toasted pine
nuts and vanilla are all that come to mind.
Overall: given the asking price this is very disappointing.
Even if this was pitched around the £40 price point, I’d still recommend the
10-year-old as the better dram. It’s very much style over substance with a
lovely bottle harbouring danger within. This is very frustrating as the
aforementioned 10 and the lovely 18-year-old are excellent whiskies, but these
No Age Statements water down the legacy of this great distillery. A couple of
years ago I put together a rewarding Talisker Vertical and since then I’ve
picked off whatever bottlings I can included the Skye and Distillery Exclusive. There's plenty of choice out there, but be wary of the rocky hazards!
Labels: featured, Neist Point, no age statement, talisker