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Talisker 57 Degrees North is bottled at an ABV to match the latitude of the distillery on the Isle of Skye. At this ABV the whisky is at "Special Strength", not precisely at Cask Strength, but is most likely at very close to Cask Strength. The reviewed bottle was opened November 22, 2012, and now only 1/4 remains. Tasting notes are from the bottle opened for two weeks. 57 D North is a rare bottling to find in North America, and the reviewed bottle was hand-carried to me from the UK. I was recently able to replenish supply of it at an auto duty free in Ontario
Nose: intense penetrating vanilla, intense black pepper and briney peat, some smoke, and a nice sweet underlying malt. Beautiful
Taste: on the palate smoke and both sharp peat and sweet peat are stronger than in the nose. There are lovely malted barley flavours, sweet honey-licorice, the Talisker pepper-brine, and a slight hint of wine-finish flavours. This is glowing and resonant, but the bottle had to be open for two weeks to get this way
Finish: long honey-peat-smoke-brine. If you like these flavours together, then this is terrific
Balance: for me this Talisker 57 Degrees North really works and is a real treat. It is muscular and aggressive, which Big Flavours lovers are likely to enjoy. Stay away from this if you don't like peppery brine, peat and smoke emphasised. Pay attention to making sure that your bottle is fully opened up before apparaising it, though. On Day One of opening this would only have rated 86 from me.
N.B. water added a beautiful floral element to the nose and slightly lessened the other flavours. The palate and finish became much sweeter with water, with the smoke diminished, but the sweet component of the peat brought to the fore