Talisker has expanded its portfolio with the release of its oldest whisky yet: the 44 Year Old: Forests of the Deep. Inspired by an expedition led by Parley for the Oceans, this singular whisky is released as a reflection of both the power and the fragility of the ocean – a fitting message for a distillery that sits on the wild shores of the Isle of Skye.
Like last year’s Xpedition Oak: The Atlantic Challenge release, Talisker has once again gone above and beyond to celebrate its intrinsic connection with the ocean in this whisky. With support from Talisker, Parley for the Oceans, a non-profit ocean conservation organization, led an expedition to the Cape of Good Hope off South Africa to explore one of the world’s largest sea kelp forests.
“Kelp forests are the planet’s underwater architects and a powerful blue carbon force within the ecosystem that makes Earth habitable,” said Parley founder and CEO, Cyril Gutsch. “They support biodiversity and sequester and store carbon dioxide more efficiently than the rainforests. This very special and rare edition of Talisker whisky is a tribute to the beauty and fragility of these great forests of the deep, and our collaborative mission to support their protection.”
As well as carrying scientists, filmmakers and activists, who undertook deep dives into the kelp forest in order to better understand how to protect it, the expedition ship also played host to a number of Talisker cask staves.
[See also: Kirsteen Campbell on Making the World’s Oldest Whisky]
Following their journey down the Atlantic, the staves were returned to Skye where they were charred using sustainably farmed Scottish sea kelp and stave wood shavings, before being turned into casks used to mature the 44 Year Old for its final aging.
The resulting liquid brings something distinctly different to the Talisker lineup. Naturally, there are those signature saline notes with a hint of sweetness, but 44 years of maturing has added a deep, savory element that any fan of the distillery will notice as unusual. A drop of water opens the whisky up to reveal a more familiar hit of pepper on the back of the throat.
“When it comes to nosing and tasting this particular expression of Talisker, you’ll find that it has a lovely duality to it,” said Ewan Gunn, Diageo’s global prestige whisky ambassador. “The key aromas and flavors are present: the marine smoke; the saline sweetness; that peppery tickle and that chili catch on the finish – that quintessential Talisker is all there. But there’s a layer of depth and complexity that only 44 years in wood can achieve.”
Just 1,197 bottles of the Talisker 44-Year-Old: Forests of the Deep Single Malt Scotch Whisky will be released globally at £3,800 (approx. $4,588). Each bottle is housed inside a limited-edition presentation box, complete with a tiny piece of one of the wooden staves that made the journey to Cape of Good Hope with Parley.