Talisker is the only distillery on the island of Skye, which lies off the west Highland coast of Scotland. The distillery can be found in a remote location on the island’s rugged western coast. Talisker lies on the shores of Loch Harport, close to the hamlet of Carbost and the edge of the imposing Cuillin Hills.
The Talisker distillery rose from the ashes of a devastated Hebridean whisky industry in 1830. Until the early 1820s, there had been several distilleries operating on the islands. The combination of a clamp down on illegal distilleries by the authorities and the remoteness of some of the sites proved fatal. Two brothers named Hugh and Archie Macaskill decided to move to Skye from the isle of Eigg and convert Talisker House and its surrounding buildings in to a legal distillery. The distillery struggled for years until it was rescued by Roderick Kemp and Alexander Allan in 1881. They saw some potential for Talisker in the blending market and refitted and expanded the distillery. This helped to re–establish the name within the industry and Talisker thrived until Kemp left in 1892 to go and buy Macallan. Allan decided to take the opportunity and merge Talisker with his other distillery and form a new company. This distillery was Dailuaine in Speyside, which was the largest whisky producer in Scotland at that time, and much of the whisky produced at Talisker was used to fulfil the blending contracts of Allan’s company. This continued to be the distillery’s primary function until it was forced to close in 1960 after it was gutted by a fire. Talisker was rebuilt and continued to go from strength to strength.