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Talisker Releases Glacial Edge Scotch Aged in Ice-fractured Casks

Twelve casks endured freezing temperatures in Canada's ice fields for 96 hours – but why?

By Alex Martin

Talisker has created its wildest Scotch whisky yet, using casks fractured by sub-zero temperatures. The 45 Year Old Glacial Edge opens up new realms of flavor while raising support for delicate ecosystems.

Located on the edge of Loch Harport on the Isle of Skye, Talisker’s whisky casks are regularly exposed to harsh elements. But even Scotland can’t match the extremes of Canada’s ice fields, where 12 casks endured sub-zero temperatures for 96 hours.

Over the course of four days, the extreme temperatures and biting winds fractured the staves of the heavily charred oak casks and exposed more surface area. Talisker’s whisky makers then put the 45-year-old liquid back in the casks and left it to age for a final few months.

[See also: This May be the Most Exclusive Whisky Tour in the World]

Talisker bottle in casks
The casks were left in sub-zero temperatures to fracture under ice / ©Talisker

Aged in heavily charred American oak casks for over four decades, the whisky was already full of flavor, much of it coming from its interaction with the wood. But the newly-opened fractures in these weathered staves would have allowed the liquid to burrow deeper into the wood, giving the flavor extra sweetness from the ex-bourbon and spice from previously unexposed wood.

We tried the Talisker 45 Year Old Glacial Edge and the narrative certainly aligns with what we taste. There is a hit of spice, usually in line with something aged in virgin casks, layered on top of toffee and burnt sugar. Talisker’s signature style – salt, pepper and a whiff of smoke – is also present. The profile is a mainstay in even the oldest of whiskies from the Skye distillery.

It’s another example of Talisker’s uncanny ability to retain its character deep into the upper limits of aging. The robust spirit is perfectly in line with the environment where it’s produced.

[See also: The Best Scotch Whisky Collections to Invest in (and Drink)]

Bottle in a glacier
Talisker 45 Year Old Glacial Edge brings an end to a series of adventurous whiskies / ©Talisker

Glacial Edge brings an end to Talisker’s adventure series, which has seen staves cross the Atlantic on a sailing yacht and venture to the kelp forests off the coast of South Africa. Each release has been in partnership with Parley for the Ocean, a corporation committed to protecting marine ecosystems.

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The journey to the ice fields, undertaken by Talisker and Parley for the Ocean, was led by pioneering glacier scientist Dr Alison Criscitiello. Dr Criscitiello explained how the ecosystems within the ice fields and oceans interconnect.

Celebrating the launch, Talisker took big wave surfer and activist Greg Long to Iceland to explore the wonders of glacial environments. In partnership with Abercrombie & Kent, the journey, which included tours underneath the ice, is now available to purchase.

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Greg Long said: “I have spent nearly my entire life immersed in the ocean and in that time I have come to realize just how intimately connected the mountains and ocean truly are.

“The mountains play a vital role in regulating climate patterns, influencing rainfall patterns and temperature variations that directly impact the health of the ocean.

“Protecting and preserving both is essential to maintain the delicate balance of these ecosystems and ensure the well-being of countless species, including humans, who rely on them for sustenance, climate regulation, and recreation. I am grateful to work on this project highlighting the beauty and fragility of both invaluable ecosystems.”

Talisker 45 Year Old Glacial Edge Tasting Notes*

Nose: Rich, dry and mellow, with a light peppery prickle. Clear maritime top notes speak of seaweed and iodine; their glacial mineral companions suggest slaked lime and salt crystals. Below, complex sweet aromas hint at dried fruits and creamy vanilla, bringing depth and richness. Light smoke threads the background, touched by aromatic sandalwood.

Palate: The texture is wondrously oil-smooth and mouth-filling; the taste starts toffee-sweet then becomes salty and increasingly peppery; even at this age there is a striking intensity to it, and a fine chili ‘catch’. A dash of water integrates these tastes. A saltiness to the toffee suggests salted caramels, with slightly less pepper.

Finish: Very long, with a glorious chili pepper effect and a trace of candle wax; this grows in the aftertaste, in which both saltiness and pepper also persist. Saltier if water is added, with less pepper and faint scented smoke.

Talisker 45 Year Old Glacial Edge is available to purchase globally from selected retailers and diageorareandexceptional.com at an SRP of $5,000

*notes provided by Talisker

[See also: The Most Exclusive Scotch Whisky Experiences]

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