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as i write this review i am sipping on the 6th glass talisker in the past 2 weeks. the more time i spend with the whisky the more i realise how perfect the balance of honey and pepper is, and how well they work together to compliment the smoky, salty ocean aromas that make talisker unique. at such a young age this whisky has remarkable complexity and a sublime arrival. one pleasing thing i found about talisker 10 is that there is almost no alcohol burn at all and the phenolic nose is easily subdued with the addition of a few drops of water and a few minutes in a covered glass.
on the nose it is; salty, smoky ocean air almost like a beach bonfire with damp wood. hints of peat and smoked oysters, water helps it open up to reveal a thick sweetness that perfectly fuses with the oceanic tang. there is a thick honey aroma that slowly reveals itself over time and gets stronger as the smoke subsides.
the initial taste is sweet honey and flower pollen,it is quite warming and makes a perfect winter dram. this sweetness subtlety evolves into a creamy, peppery, light spice with a strong salty brine smoky flavour. the balance between these flavours is magnificent and the development is quite amazing. for such a young whisky i find the maturity to be outstanding - and although the youngness can be detected on the nose and in the finish, it hardly takes away from the overall experience.
the finish is long and drawn out and is reminiscent of the initial nose - salty, brine, smoked oysters and peat. there is a very slight phenolic, alcoholic taste but if anything it adds to the character of the whisky and like most islay's (yes i know its not actually an islay) it bennefits from a slight immaturity, at least in my opinion it helps add a bit of extra flare.
the body of this whisky is slightly oily at first but the finish leaves the mouth dry almost the way sea water does.
some minnor bad points about this drink are that there is e150 caramel added and it is chill filtered and at least for my taste i find the fishy? brine nose to be a little off putting but i can in no way subtract any point for that because the balance of honey more than compensates.
as a side note, i think this whisky (although bottled at 45.8%) benefits from only a small amount of water, less than 4 drops and definitely opens up well in a covered glass. i am personally very pleased with my first encounter with talisker and definitely recommend trying the 10 yr old.