The distillery was built in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, and expanded in 1900. During this early period, the whisky was produced using a triple distilling method, but changed to the more conventional double distilling in 1928. The distillery was nearly destroyed by fire in 1960, however five exact replicas of the original stills were constructed to preserve the original Talisker flavour.
Talisker was a favourite whisky of writers Robert Louis Stevenson and Henry Vollam Morton.
The distillery operates five stills, two wash stills and three spirit stills. All the stills use worm tubs (condensing coils) rather than a modern condenser, which are believed to give the whisky a "fuller" flavour (itself an indication of higher sugar content).