I have always loved Talisker. It was one of my first loves within the world of whisky and always had at least one of their expressions in my cabinet. In recent years though, I have experienced a bit of quality control issues. The bottle before this one (purchased about 6 months ago on special) was the worst bottle of Talisker 10 that I have ever experienced. It was watery, lacked much sweetness, tasted mostly of off-putting medicinal seaweed, and was also missing the famous Talisker pepper punch. After that, I swore it off, along with all Diageo products (I have had the same experience with Lagavulin 16) until recently most of the Diageo products, in my area, across the board have seen significant price reductions which roped me right back in. Damn you, Diageo! Anyhow, this bottle is a MUCH better experience than the last one and falls more in line with what I typically expect from Talisker 10.
Nose: Sweet and salty with a touch of iodine. Caramel apples, vanilla, honey, Juicy Fruit gum, seaweed, a touch of soot
Taste: Sweet maritime peatiness. Immediately comes the salty/caramel/fruitiness, the what follows is a huge tidal wave of even more salt, earthy peat, ash, and a smacking of black pepper (some would say chili) that is unique to Talisker.
Finish: The aforementioned tidal wave of bigtime salt, black pepper blast, and earthy peat hangs on tight but fades into an astringent, bitter finish.
This bottle is a winner. The last bottle would have been scored significantly lower. I find it strange for all the chill-filtration and e150 that Diageo has put into their whisky for a consistent aesthetic experience, they tend to lack the consistency where it actually matters; the taste. Let's hope, in the future, the duds are few and far between and that they are more in-line with this bottle. With that said, I commend them for reducing their prices on the core ranges. Even if it is them flexing their muscles trying to gain more market share and/or inducing a pricing war, it will ultimately benefit us consumers.