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I remember when I first opened my Talisker 10 a few months back. I hadn’t planned on buying it, but it was on sale for about $34 so I grabbed it on a whim. I was quite excited to try it, then quite disappointed after doing so. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. It was nice, but seemingly nothing to write home about. BUT… there was something special; something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I was still a bit on the fence about it. Later that night, @Victor suggested that I give it time, and that my relationship with this stuff needed time to develop. Good advice; time worked wonders. Not just time for the whisky to open up and oxidize, but also time for me to figure out just what that special quality was. Well, flash forward several months and you’ll find an enthusiastic new member of the Tally 10 fan club. Here are my notes:
Nose: Minerals, limestone, damp autumn leaves, earth, moss, peat, lilac, cloves, chives, and musk. The sweetness here is of very good quality, and I’m in love with the wisps of burnt honey that marry beautifully with the mineral notes. Where other peated whiskies sometimes have smoky, industrial, medicinal notes; this takes peat in the opposite direction. Very natural, mineral-rich, earthy notes seem to dominate this nose.
Palate: Medium/light mouthfeel. I’m first struck with the beautiful juxtaposition of sweet and sour. The peat rolls in very gradually, bringing the aforementioned earth and limestone with it. Caramelized onion, salt, lemon tart, and big lilac. Black pepper builds up and carries us calmly into the finish.
Finish: Before I fry a steak, I’ll often caramelized mushrooms and onions in soy sauce for added flavour. Such is the flavour I’m getting here. There’s also sweet peat, earth, charcoal, lilac, distant vanilla, lemon tart, and that mineral-rich seared honey taste that I can’t quite define. It is medium-long and absolutely stunning, with a lingering metallic flavour.
A very odd mixture of the geologic and the floral characterize this dram. It’s the most mineraly whisky I’ve ever had. Since when is limestone a tasting note? Anyway, I’ve fallen in love with the Tally 10. It’s a one-of-a-kind to be sure. With all its earthy peat, there’s actually very little smoke. Also, there’s a striking and distinctive quality to the sweetness here. It’s hard to define, but an unlikely combination of lilac, minerals, and honey is as close as I can get to explaining it. The point is that this is a special, special dram. If you don’t like it at first, give it time. It will pay off beautifully.