Review: Talisker 57 Degrees North
Like most single malt producers, Talisker began introducing more no-age-statement (NAS) offerings into their portfolio in the early 2010s, hedging their bets against a potential global whisky shortage. By most accounts that shortage never really materialized (outside of Japan), perhaps thanks in part to that increase in no-age-stated whiskies. Probably the most well-known NAS Talisker, at least in the U.S. (and outside of the annual Distiller’s Edition), is Talisker Storm, but fans of the brand who happen to travel internationally are probably also familiar with this bottle, Talisker 57 Degrees North. It’s yet another blend of single malts of varying ages that purports to evoke the Talisker house style but at a considerably higher proof (57%, like its name). The name comes from the latitude, 57 degrees north, where the famous Isle of Skye distillery is located. Let’s check it out.
On the nose, this one evokes the same great balance of peat and sweet Highland fruitiness that you get on the flagship 10 year. The heat is a bit punchy, which is to be expected at this proof, but it doesn’t mask the gentler aromas. The smoky notes are only mildly coastal, more akin to a driftwood campfire instead of a plunge in the surf. As it opens, marshmallow, toffee, and golden raisins arrive with a helping of honey-kissed cereals, every bit a Talisker just somewhat bolder. The palate is big and oily with an initial hit of orange marmalade on slightly burnt toast, honey candies, cookie butter, and candied lemon peel. That sweetness doesn’t let up, even into the generous finish, but the smoke helps to tame it with a bit of wet matchheads and ocean brine. All told, it’s not as well-balanced as the 10 year, but of all the NAS offerings out there (including the Distiller’s Editions), this may be my favorite.
A- / $100 / malts.com