The single malts from Talisker has been nicknamed “the lava of the Cuillins” for the spirits’ trademark peppery character, as well as the 181-year-old distillery’s solitary location in the jagged Cuillins hills that cover western Scotland’s Isle of Skye. The moniker is especially apt for the Talisker 30-Year-Old Special Release. Its cask strength of 57.3 percent alcohol by volume may scorch the throats of the uninitiated, but also reveals its complexity to more tutored taste buds. Hints of leather and smoke do not overpower the sweeter notes of dried apricot, apple skin, and toffee. Talisker’s distinctive pepper appears on the palate, as do rich spices. The finish is long, smooth, and laced with roasted malt and molasses. Even diluted, this whisky will likely blow the novice drinker’s top.