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This is a sample generously given to me by @Nozinan on November 13/2017. The bottle was opened in January 2017, gassed after each use and 1/2 full when the sample was poured.
Talisker is one of those whiskies I think I could identify blind. Its distinct aroma and flavours are unlike anything I’ve encountered so far in my whisky journey. There’s no age information I can find on this whisky, but after tasting it, my best guess is that 57 North is a vatting of 10-14 year whiskies.
Nose (undiluted): friendly for something bottled at 57% ABV. Classic Talisker minerality, vegetal iodine (more seaweed than medicinal), slight chalkiness, brine, black pepper, moderately smoky. There are some notes reminiscent of grapefruit (the "meat" not the pith). As this sits in the glass, there are some cinnamon, oak and wood varnish notes popping through. Very complex and pleasant nose.
Palate (undiluted): hot, peppery arrival, prickly, almost hoppy on the tongue, the slight chalkiness returns, developing some citrus (orange zest, maybe?), with the cinnamon and oak tannins popping back up.
Finish: Medium length and drying. This was a bit shorter and “pulled” more than I expected. A bit of brine remains with some smoke, oak and fruitiness lingering.
With water, the wood varnish (cask?) notes come forward on the nose, as does the brine and seaweed. the smoke retreats to the back, as a kind of echo. As the whisky sits, a kind of industrial machinery aroma lingers (if that makes any sense). On the palate, with water, the smoke becomes more evident as does the cinnamon and wood spice. The finish is not quite as drying with water, but shorter than I expected. Very pleasant nonetheless. I nursed this pour for about 2 hours while doing laundry and with time, it got more interesting. At the very end of the finish, I was detecting a bit of unripe banana.
I really enjoyed this whisky, but I’m a Talisker fan so make of that what you will. I’ve been fortunate; I’ve never hit a bad bottle. This sample was no exception.