In yesterday’s review I noted that the Talisker 10 packs quite a punch at 45.8% and would likely be a monster at cask strength. Well, the Talisker 57 North is at 57%. It’s not a 10 yo, however. No age is noted but the rumour is that it is mostly 7 years old. Of course, as no age is noted the distillery can change the mix from batch to batch without having to change the label. This was originally available only in duty-free but can now be found in regular retail too (though not in the US). It may now be the only non-stratospherically priced official release at a high strength. As to whether that will last or this will give way to its NAS brethren at lower strengths remains to be seen.
This particular bottle is from 2013.
Talisker 57 North (57%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Brighter than the 10 yo and missing the slightly rubbery note. Less salty and yet more coastal in character: brine, kelp, seashells. There’s minerally, stony peat here as well, but not as much smoke. Some lemon. Make that quite a bit of lemon. More fruit emerges with time–a bit of plum, I want to say. Gets pricklier and more peppery with time but there’s also more vanilla and pastry notes. Water pulls out some gunpowder and also dried apricot and tangerine peel.
Palate: Minerally peat, sweet and smoky, turning quickly to salty. Some lemon, the barest hint of apricot. Hot but drinkable at full strength. Gets sootier with time (an old kettle on a coal fire). Water brings out some vanilla and pushes the apricot over the lemon; still quite salty. Less peat now and more simple sweetness.
Finish: Long. The sweet peat and the salt take a long time to fade. With water the fruit hangs around a while as well.
Comments: A less “round” version of the 10 yo, brighter and more direct. I seem to remember my first bottle of this being much rougher. This is quite nice (I especially like the nose) but if you can’t find it near you you’re not missing much by just sticking with the 10 yo. Unlike the 10 yo I preferred it without water.
Rating: 87 points.