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Before I start off, I'd like to point out that it's quite a hard job to do write this review as objective as possible. This is because Talisker 10 year old is the first single malt Scotch whisky that really pulled me into whiskies. Before, I could enjoy a whisky, or whiskey. I didn't really know anything about it nor would I really care. But then, when friends gave me this bottle and I tasted. A world opened, in my mouth. But enough of that. Tasting notes!
Nose: A nice peat, peppery fragrance, All of it is combined with something I can only recognize as a salty sea air. Also some roughed up wood in there. Give it a little sit and it will open up it's softer tones: Citrus (mandarin, oranges even?), a little bit of vanilla and more soft spice. The peat also seems to magically transform.
Palate: It gives quite the smokey punch on entrance, but that disappears quickly. I feel the peppers prickling my tongue, taste the sweet peat everywhere. Salt, wet wood and citrus are very apparent. It slowly grows smoother on you.
Finish: Sweet citrus. More peat. More pepper. It lingers around not too long, but quite some time really. It really leaves you hungry for another sip.
Balance: I love this. The peat and sea-salt (or salty sea breeze) hold everything together. The pepper makes it interesting and the fruity citrus gives it that sweet opposite that balances the spirit out wonderfully.
Water: Unlike many other reviews here, I believe that Talisker 10 y/o doesn't really need water to be enjoyed. It's already a landscape on taste for me. However, I do like what happens when you add a small teaspoon (not more than that, believe me.) of water. The peat becomes a bit wet, You get some extra dimension of smoke and all together I'd describe it as roasting sweet fruit on top of a bonfire, while it has rained only hours ago. The pepper makes place for more woody sweetness.