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If you've read my earlier reviews, you'd have noticed I've worked my way through the Talisker 3-pack. Previous reviews were the Distiller's Edition and the 10 Year Old. Now - my favourite.
A coppery colour in the glass. The nose is startling, with ginger, peat, sea spray and smoked paprika. Water brings out lavender, believe it or not.
In the mouth, there is a flash of hot alcohol, much hotter than the nose. Then cayenne pepper! Wow! Mouthcoating but not syrupy, with very mild caramel with peat. Amazing! It doesn't feel like water really dilutes it; rather, it explodes the smoke wonderfully in the mouth and enriches the finish, which is deep, rich and long.
It is a beautifully balanced whisky. Each element is just different enough from the other to make it interesting, but in the same range so as to be harmonious. The peat doesn't dominate as it does in some Islays; but rather envelopes all the other salty and spicy elements while letting the mouth feel rich.
I love Talisker, absolutely one of my favourites, though I've only had these three expressions. This distillery exists on an island which really has no business having a distillery (though in 1823 it had seven); and it almost burned down in 1960. But the Island of Skye's sea spray and briny atmosphere, among other elements, has made its way into the whisky, justifying its struggles.