Founded in 1830 by two brothers, Hugh & Kenneth MacAskill Talisker is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye and continues to carry the brand's proud heritage to store shelves around the world.
The location was chosen due to its ample water supply due to the underground springs of the Cnoc nan Speireag. The springs naturally flow over peat, which enhanced the characteristic flavor of the scotch, which soon became popular with the locals. The distillery also came to the attention of many whisky blenders, and most notably is a primary component in many Johnnie Walker blends.
Talisker was also featured in the famous 'The Scotsman's Return From Abroad' written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1880:
The king o' drinks, as I conceive it,
Talisker, Islay or Glenlivit.
In 1889 Hugh MacAskill died, and the distillery was acquired by Grigor Allan and Roderick Kemp who immediately began to expand and renovate the distillery to expand its production capability. This work was completed in 1898, the same year the distiller was acquired by the Kemp MacAllan Distillery of Speyside and Allan to become the Dailuaine-Talisker Distillery.
The distillery became part of United Distillers through a merger in 1925. In 1928, the production of whisky was changed, moving from the distillery's distinctive triple distillation process to the more typically double distillation system. Despite this change, the character of the scotch wasn't affected, and production continued to grow.
The success of the distillery was rapid, until a severe fire in 1960 halted production for many years. The stills were painstakingly recreated to match the originals, including their unique use of condensing coils (which require 20000 gallons of water a day to cool) instead of modern condensing equipment. This attention to detail is credited with the new whisky production losing none of the characteristic flavors that Talisker is famous for.
In 1988 Talisker was chosen by United Distillers to feature in their Classic Malt series, which propelled Talisker 10yo and the distillery itself onto the world wide stage. Distribution of the whisky grew rapidly, with it soon being available on every continent except for Antarctica. Despite its strong, peaty taste which is challenging to new whisky drinkers, Talisker became an international success.
The distillery continues to use largely traditional equipment an example being its fermentation vats still being made of wood where many distilleries currently use steel to cut costs. The distillery no longer does its own malting, with all associated equipment being removed in 1972.
Today, Talisker is now owned and operated by Diageo and continues to be a tremendous success not only with its variety of single malt releases, but in its use in blended scotch, forming a vital role in Johnnie Walker Green Label and Drambuie liqueur.
- Talsiker 10 Year Old
- Talisker 18 Year Old
- Talisker 25 Year Old
- Talisker Distillers Edition
- Talisker 175th Anniversary Bottling
As of 2006, Talisker has been a major sponsor of the largely promotional Talisker Trek, which aims for teams to navigate around the Isle of Islay while gaining an appreciation from the scotch and the land it comes from. Each team must raise £500 which goes towards the Woodland Trust.