Nose: Brine, green leaves and a big meaty mouthfeel. Sea spray ozone, bung cloth, damp wood and dunnage warehouse mustiness (the good kind).
Palate: Cooling anis and liquorice sweetness up front, with grassy smoke and drying ashiness. It builds in intensity (to quite ridiculous levels), with dark chocolate, more sea spray and dark earthy smoke. Water takes the edge off to reveal more sweetness and fruit – apples, oranges and mango. Smoke is still ever present but doesn’t intrude, providing pine needles and a meaty, sweet cured bacon-like background.
Finish: Seaweed, dark fruit, chocolate and stony minerality.
Comment: An intense whisky that needs some taming with a drop of water, but which shows off the more intense side of Talisker that Diageo have been promoting recently. Lots of fierce sea and fruit, with dark depths underneath.
Appearance: Rich, clear amber with notes of antique gold.
Nose: Absolutely classic Talisker. First soft and sweet, with shortcrust pastry and rich warm dark chocolate. Next, after the faintest mention of raspberry juice, comes waft upon waft of warming, homely smoke. Through this rises the buttery, oaty aroma of home-made chocolate chip cookies, offset by sharp mixed-berry jam and ripe red apples. There are late top notes of beeswax and polish on new shoes fresh from the box. Water makes it all sweetly smoky and liberates mysterious volcanic fumes.
Body: Medium. Oily.
Palate: Cool, salty and sweet; then warming and spicy, with notes of ginger and clove. Growing rich and malty, with helpings of plum pudding and fruitcake. Then resin-rich, dense, fragrant pine-wood smoke. Soft, smooth and bitter-sweet with water, with gently pervasive smoke.
Finish: Long and silky-smooth, with more of that drying, unctuous and soft dark chocolate, and chewy, with ripe plums. Late warmth, cigar-box cedar and coal smoke.