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Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition vs Talisker Distiller’s Edition: Which Whisky Wins?

Discover the differences between Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition vs Talisker Distiller’s Edition in this head to head comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition

NoseCaramel, smoke, plum
PalateSmoke, ripe fruit, salt
FinishOak, vanilla, baking spice, smoke
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toLagavulin 16, Ardbeg Uigeadail

The Distiller’s Edition is the same malt as the 16 YO but finished in casks that were previously used to mature Pedro Ximenez sherry wine. Commonly referred to as P.X., this wine is remarkably sweet, as the grapes are dried under the sun.

This double-barrelling is what makes Distiller’s Edition sweeter and more fruity than the 16 YO while lowering the smoke a little… but not much.

The nose hits with smoke at first, followed by caramel and a rich note of plum.

On the palate, Distiller’s brings traditional Lagavulin notes such as smoke and brine up front. As you let it develop it becomes incredibly rich in ripe fruit.

Body is thick and creamy, the mouthfeel is quite smooth yet the smoke is much higher than in the Talisker.

The finish is pleasantly long leaving you with a remarkable aftertaste, mostly smoky, rich in baking spice, with a bit of oak spice to it and lingering caramel sweetness.

Did I like it? Yes, one of the nicest and smoothest Islay whiskies I have tried but is not missing any of the key flavors.

Everything is there in perfect harmony making a heck of a dram and one that I should be consuming more often.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Distiller’s Edition:

  • Distiller’s Edition is aged for 16 years in ex-bourbon barrels.
  • The distillery of Lagavulin officially dates from 1816, when John Johnston and Archibald Campbell Brooks constructed two distilleries on the site.
  • One of them became Lagavulin, taking over the other, which until this day is not exactly known.

Talisker Distiller’s Edition

NoseSmoke, brine, raspberry
PalateRipe fruit, sherry, bacon, pepper
FinishMedium, caramel, brine
Alcohol content92 proof (46% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toTalisker 10

I was quite interested about this dram because it is the product of finishing one of my favorite malts, the Talisker 10, in Amoroso casks.

Amoroso is Spanish dessert wine renowned for its delicious nutty taste.

The nose hits with smoke at first, followed by the signature brine note of Talisker whiskies, along a note of raspberry.

On the palate, the Talisker hits with a pleasant warming note up-front, that develops into a rich fruity note, with bacon-like hints coming behind, along sherry and the typical peppery note of Talisker.

The finish as a medium length, with hints of caramel, brine, a touch of smoke and the right amount of warmth to remind you that are drinking Scotch.

This malt is an excellent example of sherry finishing and good smoky whisky. Pretty great mix between the smoky peat, a pinch of sea salt and caramel.

Overall, the Talisker Distiller’s Edition achieves sherry depth along Talisker signature flavor delivering an excellent dram.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Talisker:

  • Aged for 10 years in traditional bourbon casks and then finished for around 6 months in Amoroso casks.
  • Amoroso is a full-bodied, strong and heavy Sherry with dark brown color and a marked nutty taste.
  • Talisker Distiller’s Edition earned a score of 96-100 points from Wine Enthusiast.
  • Talisker distillery was founded in 1831, is an island single malt which distillery is located in Carbost on the Island of Skye

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition$135
Talisker Distiller’s Edition$90

Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition vs Talisker Distiller’s Edition: Which is better?

Talisker is easier on the smoke and rich in meaty notes

  • Tough call as they are both remarkably good. Those who love smoke-bombs will be better served by the Lagavulin which is higher in smoke but once you get past through that first layer you will be rewarded with beautiful sweetness.
  • The Talisker Distiller’s is also smoky but much more moderate than the Lagavulin making a solid choice for those who enjoy that note with some restraint. It also delivers incredible sweetness from the Amoroso casks so both drams are sweet and satisfying.
  • Personally, I prefer the meaty bacon-like notes of the Talisker.

Distiller’s Edition

Distiller’s Edition is a release of Single Malt Whiskies by Diageo that includes brands such as Talisker, Oban, Cragganmore, Glenkinchie and Dalwhinnie; each double-matured in a different type of cask wood chosen by Master Blenders to complement the characteristics of the whisky. All these distilleries contribute with malts to Johnnie Walker’s labels.

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