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For anyone that read my earlier review about the standard bottling from Skye the Talisker 10, you would know that i am a fan of the talisker taste, if you didn't, now you know. I am currently writing the second review of a double whsiky night me and my girl had yesterday, rediscovering two malts we've had close to our hearts ;)
In reviewing the 10, i did assess why the decrease in quality has been happening and my opinion on the contributing factor which is Diageo's management (especially their policy with colouring and chill-filtration). Talisker luckily seems to be a malt that tolerates the shackles of chill-filtration, but it seems as though that tolerance hasn't done any favors to it the last 2 years, seeing as Diageo seems to have increased the chill-filtration. The same aggressive chill-filtration process that has crippled the likes of Cragganmore (to name but one, but cragganmore is a good example). Luckily Diageo does some interesting special editions and bottlings. One i am very happy about, is this one, the 57 degrees north. The name comes directly from the latitude on which, the distillery on the isle of Skye, sits. It also defines the strength, at a hefty 57% or 114 proof. For all that know and love Talisker you know what to expect.
Nose: Kippers on a kelp, dancing from the winds of an incoming rain storm. Iodine, salty seashores, seabreeze. Pungent, pungent smoke with a damp peat. Treacle toffee with more smoke and finally seaweed.
Palate: Toffe&Peat intense treacle/malty arrival. Smoke is all-around but much softer than the fiery talisker of old. This is more focus on gentle damp peat/smoke and seashore/malt qualities than the peppery fiery character that Talisker is associated with. Aniseed and soft spices, just a bit of black pepper and peppery oak. Wonderfull, wonderfull iodine rich peat!
Finish: Pungent peat smoke, toffe treacle with nutmeg and spices. Lemon juice and apple peels with a cereal malty note holding up, an unfortunately, not-so-long finish.
A very big but friendly giant of a talisker the arrival and developement are huge, although it misses the peppery fire of a familiar Talisker this one delivers on a different level. There is just a ton of flavour in the iodine rich seashore peat with the complex treacle malt and toffee character.
This would score just above 90 if it wasn't for the dissapointingly short finish. Shame! I will do another tasting after some air has gone in the bottle b/c this review is only after having tasted the bottle for a third time and i see some changes already. I really do hope it changes the finish next time though, it would put this malt back at epic malt heights. Because my first 57 degrees north 18 months ago was just that "epic". For reference that early 2012 bottling would've gotten 94 points!