It’s been a while since we last wrote about Skye. Let’s drive up there and let’s enter on our sat nav “latitude 57° – longitude 6°”. It might be surprising, but Talisker guys know their own distillery’s map coordinates (it’s also specified on the box of the 10 years old!) and they decided to dedicate a bottling to the latitude: Talisker 57° North, indeed. No age statement, matured in ex-bourbon casks and – obviously – 57% ABV. Let’s taste it.
N: very closed and austere. At first, the alcohol seems well integrated: there’s a wonderful mix rather marine and mineral, with sea water and sea breeze (harbour ropes, brine…) and salted capers. Little by little a light smokiness emerges, with delicate and faint notes of vanilla and honey. Hints of citrus (orange? Maybe lemon?) and increasing notes of nutmeg. This nose is definetely not for beginners! Water allows the spirit to open up on sugary notes, even if the smokiness increases a little too much (burnt wood, it smells like a fireplace indeed…). There’s also a biscuity and dirty malt that shouts “Talisker” from the rooftops.
P: again, the high ABV doesn’t bother us: the first sip is rather sweet, with fruits (ripe golden apples and raisins), caramel and orange marmalade. But everything quickly changes with a spicy smoke rising in full Talisker style (black pepper and nutmeg). Water opens up the sweet side further: more vanilla, croissant notes, even tropical fruits. It’s an elaborate dance, we can’t take anything for granted. The dilution deepens the intense sapidity and the usual, powerful smokiness. With water is gorgeous, everything is high-volume.
F: an infinite smoke (fireplace smoke, or bonfire… the burning wood aroma is really rich, it sounds like crackling!) is followed by a great malt and orange marmalade.
Delicious. Adding water is not strictly required, because it’s always very drinkable even if at 57% ABV, but we ensure that some drops will raise a hell on the palate. It’s really gorgeous, it reminds the official 10 yo, but a “boosted” version. Good, good, good and above all it’s Talisker to the bone. 88/100 is our valutation, and Serge feels the same way.
Recommended soundtrack: The cure – A forest.