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The nose on this opens up quite sweetly but peat and salt are apparent almost immediately afterwards. It becomes slightly bitter with mineral edges after a few minutes. Peatiness remains strong but the initial sweetness fades. Seaweed and brine very noticeable.
Sweet peat is the immediate palate hit. Brine and salt are abundant along with minerals and a slightly peppery edge. But this is smooth and elegant. Compared to the 10yo the peppery fiery notes have been really sanded down into a more restrained, but highly polished gem. Thick oily mouthfeel, and with the sweet edge remaining this is a very nicely balanced whisky.
It is a long finish with a bit of traditional Talisker fire grabbing your throat. Remains sweet and dry for some time before descending to a slight bitterness.
Really nice malt, and a rare occasion where I'll rate the palate and finish above the nose. It is how an 18yo whisky should be - smooth and accomplished but still retaining all the traditional character of the distillery from where it originates.