Sunday, 11 March 2012

Review - Talisker 10 years


This review is for a bottle from circa 2005, opened January 10th 2012. First Talisker experience (which shows how long of a whisky journey I have ahead of me). Don't ask why I've had this on a shelf for over 6 years without ever having tasted it - I guess I just never found the right opportunity!


Anyway I will provide notes for "fresh" tasting and then several weeks on to see if the character of the whisky changes, for better or worse (as others in the community have noticed differences over time with this whisky).


Round One (2 days after opening, 2012-01-12):


First impressions - the whisky is "sweaty". It leaves little droplets on the side of the glass; as if a film of water lies on top of the whisky. The glass was completely dry before adding whisky. I have not seen this before. Ambient temp today was 36C (or 97F) which might have something to do with it, not entirely sure though.


Nose:
Weaker than expected - expected a stronger more intense delivery of peat and other notes but there's not much there, it's actually fairly subtle and restrained. Soft peat smoke, a little citrus, brine, soft malt, just a hint of honey, eucalyptus oil and a touch of "earthy" spices. Nose develops some caramel notes after tasting. With water: Smoke subsides as wet pebbles, leaves and peat moss arrive. Malt cereal emerges. Sweetens over time.


Taste:
Peat, salt, pepper, citrus all coming to the party with a zesty punch, intense (but rather short-lived) inter-mingling of all the elements, delivered to near perfection. What the nose lacked in "oomph" is more than redeemed on the palate. Pleasant medium-bodied mouthfeel without any surprises. With water: Mellower all round, bitter citrus and oaky notes at the back. The initial zesty "kick" is gone. I like it better without water.


Finish:
Peaty, dry, good length. Lip-smacking savoury, meaty, salty notes remain, like after a bowl of popcorn. Fantastic. Would go swimmingly with grilled salmon or pepper calamari. Why did that pop into my head? Curious. With water: Add slighly medicinal, enhanced peaty notes.


Balance:


A quite superbly balanced dram. We have salty, sweet, citrusy and peaty notes combining brilliantly to provide a memorable experience. Best without water, I think.


Score: N21 T22 F23 B24  (90)




Round Two (2 months after opening, 2012-03-10):


Nose:
Peat smoke, brine, cough drops, barley sugar, hint of fruit


Taste:
Intense peppery delivery, citrus, sweet malt, brine developing, peat, chili finish


Finish:
Pepper, peat smoke, citrus. Savoury finish.


Balance:
No change from the first tasting, all the different notes are still holding together fantastically without unravelling


Score: N22 T21 F20 B22  (85)




Verdict


So there you have it. I think I liked it better at initial opening if you go by the score. At two months later though there’s still not a lot of difference, even as the score goes down 5 points - it did seem a little “flatter” than the first tasting but it could be my mind playing tricks on me as I more or less knew what to expect; though I did the 2 month tasting completely blind without any references to the first tasting.


I’d be hard pressed to not have a bottle of this with me at all times, such is the quality (and price point) of this whisky. Would definitely suit a colder clime however, while a great drop, it’s a little too warming for summer.


Final (average) score: N21 T22 F22 B23  (88)

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