Aaaand I’m back. Back in Germany, after my wife and I have been evacuated from Guatemala because of the current global crisis. This event really shook up my life, and I am trying to adapt to the European life again. But I really don’t want to talk about my feelings about the pandemic and trivialise something like this, in which people are dying by the thousands… so I guess I’ll go on talking about the whisky, maybe trivialising past events in which people died by the thousands.
I simply adore Talisker, it’s a distillery that really talks sweet words of love to my tastebuds. A bit like the smell of a random burning city in Central Asia titillated Gengis Kahn’s nostrils. And therefore I have quite high expectations for this 57° North, that somebody defined as Talisker on steroids… I remember trying it for the first time during my first trip to Scotland back in 2014, but my memories fade among the Cuilins and the centuries of massacres between MacLeods and Macdonalds.
Nose: Sweet malt, sweet salt. Marine breeze, like the one the good old Horacio Nelson was sniffing cheerfully from aboard his Victory while approaching Cape Trafalgar and the fleet of poor admiral Villeneuve. Now, I said “poor Villeneuve”, but that guy sent hundreds of people to die at sea because he was fearing to be replaced by Napoleon, soooo… go get him, Nelsy! But back to the Talisker: made by the sea? Well, I don’t know about that, but I can surely get the connection. And then it comes a stinging, intense, with an intriguing smoke. Not the cannon smoke, nor the one coming from the burned wood of the captured Bucentaure. It’s definitely that sexy, earthy, grassy peat smoke the we all love. With water this smoke becomes a bight lighter, and somehow I get a some seaweed-soaked apples. To me it smells like a hard and pure Talisker, but then again I’ve never tried the famed Taliskers of old… but I’ll happily settle with this one, for now. Vanilla, salt, and honey.
Taste: Mmh the alcohol attacks fiercely and restlessly, like a desperate Harald Hardrada screaming on the Stamford Bridge. Until an arrow pierced his windpipe, of course. Very salty, with a fat peat smoke that somehow makes the whole thing more oily and… thick. And unlikely the famous King of Norway does have a sweet side, with honey and caramelised onions. With water it loses some alcoholic edges and it becomes more interesting and more malty. It’s still very salty, and it gets some mineral and grassy notes. I like it a lot. Again, it’s quite oily, with a surprisingly delicate note of mint, I think.
Finish: It’s definitely persistent, like the stubbornness of the Roman consuls at Cannae in insisting on facing Hannibal in the open field. But make no mistakes, this finish is not a slaughter, it’s great! I find some cereal notes, salt, peat smoke, and even fried sage. Fried sage, you ask? Yes, fried sage, because my associations sometimes make less sense than Jon Snow‘s battle plan at Winterfell.
Overall: I think I’m going towards a shining 86/100 for this one, taking into account the not too extreme price, in my opinion. Its age is unknown, but its quality is great! In my unrequested opinion, at least.