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After six months (ok it's a very short time!) since I first started to follow Connossr I think it's about time to write my first review. Consider the fact that I'm not a native speaker and I'm pretty sure you will grant me your pardon. The bottle I'm reviewing it's a much welcome Xmas gift from my girlfriend, so no better stuff to start with.
Colour: tha whisky shows a beautiful, very brilliant chardonnay colour, with thick and long legs.
Nose: on your first nosing you get a big, vodka-like alcohol impact, but after a few seconds in the glass the subtle peat of most Talikers will reach you just while writing down your first notes. After leaving it rest a bit in the glass you can still feel the big alcohol, but now it is accompanied by a typical Talisker character, as if it was hidden under the high ABV. Nose just gets more and more pleasant with minutes and now its Talisker soul comes out with brine and subtle peat. It's ocean, but this time no breeze, it's much more of the air just before a tempest.
Palate: the high ABV is still evident but not at all unpleasing, on the contrary it coats and warms your mouth. A dram for freezing days (not very usual here in Sicily!). The dram tingles the roof of your palate and reminds me of some white sparkling wines we drink here in Italy. I cannot say if it's the alcohol, the spices or both. On a second sip I find it quite chewy, with some underlying, beautiful vanilla notes, probably coming from the "American oak" casks mentioned on the label. It's briny, with the peat almost absent and coming through only after several sips. Letting a small drop play between tongue and palate also brings out a light fruitiness, while your mouth goes dumb due to the high ABV. After a little time the peat starts to find its place on the palette, but it's always subtle. You can detect both the old and the very young whiskies present in this expression, which bears no age statement. Well crafted!
Finish: finish is lomg, with smoke and the subtle peat I mentioned above, pleasantly mingled with subdued brine.
All the above notes refer to the dram when sipped withouth any dilution. Anyway, a little water is much welcome. It opens up the flavours, bringing out more spices, vanilla, a pleasant wood smoke and the peaty-briny character. There's also something that makes me think of chocolate. Usually I'll have all my drams neat, even if they are cask strength editions, but this really becomes pleasant with a small drop of water (and lucky me, it was spring-source water).
Overall: another beautiful dram from a distillery I look at with awe, not extremely complex but pleasant to discover. I agree with Serge Valentin too, this is two drams (neat and diluted) for the price of one. Thank you Giovanna!