Few would argue that Talisker produces some of the best whiskies in Scotland. This is confirmed by Whisky guru Jim Murray, in his 2009 Whisky Bible, nine distillery bottlings of Talisker were assessed, with the average rating reaching 91.3/100 - an average similar to that of other distinguished distilleries such as Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Highland Park and Laphroaig. The latest release from this distinguished and remarkably consistent distillery bears the branding 57o North - the same latitude the distillery is located on. The alcohol level is not at cask strength but 'special strength.' No prizes for guessing the alcohol volume (57%). The marketing department has been working hard!
The prospect of a Talisker at 'special strength' is all the more exciting. We've consistently found cask strength whiskies offer an extra dimension of flavour compared to their lower strength stablemates. The careful, progressive addition of water at your discretion - instead of a predetermined amount by the distillery, allows one to fully discover everything that a malt has to offer. While 'special strength' isn't exactly cask strength, it's very close.
Tasting notes: Golden colour with pale straw hue. Lifted nose showing a sweet, peaty top note above vanilla, chocolate, manuka honey and mint. There's a suggestion of lanolin and spice underneath. The palate entry is rich and warming, delivering sweet vanilla and dark chocolate flavours with more peat influence than other Talisker bottlings. Once the whisky warms up on the palate, it takes on a slightly more 'serious' tone with Talisker's trademark pepper and spice appearing over a sweet, briny underlay. Excellent balance. Creamy texture. Long honey and spice aftertaste with a pleasant smokiness persisting. A deliciously drinkable, young Talisker that diehard fans will either love or hate. 57.0% Alc./Vol.