Type: Single Malt Whisky
Region: Highland (Island: Skye)
Age: 10 Years
Colour: Light (Amber) Gold
Nose: Somehow I had expected an overwhelming nose but it’s quite restrained actually. We start with Moderate Peat, Light Smoke, Leather, Old Books, Iodine, Salt, Brine, Wood and Mineral tones. When you have just opened a new bottle, there’s quite a bit of rather sharp Alcohol there so give it time to open up properly. After a while some Brown Sugar, Dried Fruits (Think of Raisins and Apricots), Malt and lightly sugared Orange Zests.
Taste: There’s a lot going on here. The delivery is strong thanks to its 45,6%. I find Pepper, Leather, Light (Peat) Smoke, Tobacco, Ashes, Citrus, Green Apples, Cinnamon, Salted Almonds and Mustard. But somehow it all seems slightly disorganised. I miss a bit of balance here.
Finish: This is the strongest part of this Single Malt. It’s long, rough and rather dry. Sharp Jalapeno Peppers, Smoke, Leather, Dark Chocolate, Wet Earth, Oak, Cinnamon, hints of Smoked Salted Fish and Bacon. A finish you are not likely to forget very quickly.
I added a couple of drops of water that brought more Peat and Heather to the Nose. On the Palate, the Pepper retreats a bit and the fruity Citrus tones come to the foreground. The Finish however gets watered down and looses its magic. Still there’s plenty of room to play with a little water here.
Nose: 21 – Taste: 22 – Finish: 23 – Overall: 22
General Remarks: The Talisker distillery is located in Carbost on the shores of Loch Harport on the Isle of Skye. It produces 2,6 million litres per year. It’s part of the Diageo Group.
Drinking Experience Neat: Good
Conclusion: This is an extremely well crafted Single Malt. After a restrained Nose, lots of different flavors fight for your attention on the Palate, followed by an exceptional Finish that you are not likely to forget for the rest of your life. But while the Palate gives away a world of flavors, I miss some balance there. In particular I would have liked to see some sherry or honey tones to balance the Peat and the Spices. The Cinnamon can’t do that all by itself. I give it a high score because I think it’s a very well made Single Malt and it certainly stands out in the sea of colourless whiskies. But although I will come back to Talisker 10 on a regular basis, it doesn’t beat the less spectacular but better balanced Ardbeg 10 as my to go to Peated dram.
Jan van den Ende June 2, 2012