Talker 57 Degrees North

Talisker 57° North

By Simon Barber on August 12, 2009 — 1 min read

Talisker’s 10 year old single malt has to be my favourite dram. It is the complete whisky. In musical terms, it is Prince Rogers Nelson in a bottle. Now comes a Talisker named after the distillery’s high latitude (coordinates can be found on every box). 57 Degrees North is a ‘special strength’ Talisker that clocks in at, you guessed it, 57% vol. Its potent colour calls to mind the viscous honeyed glow of Castrol GTX. It tastes like Talisker 10, on PCP.

The initial nosing suggests strength and peaty smoke, conjuring images of Jón Páll Sigmarsson struggling to roll heavy casks onto a barbeque. There’s a subtle citrus fragrance and a whiff of the ocean in this too. The only way to describe it is to imagine french kissing Fidel Castro while some salty old sea dog tells bawdy jokes in your ear.

The taste itself is even more refined. It’s cold, stark, and yet worldly; a Victorian chimney sweep carefully writing with a fountain pen in a leather-bound jotter. A complex aftertaste follows, engulfing the tongue in workhouse sawdust and Ipecac. Finally, soil; no doubt a commentary on where we will all ultimately return.

It’s not over yet, however. In the aftermath of this potent spirit, the air has hints of lemon peel, cracked black pepper, artichokes, Edam cheese and the final chapter of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. It’s deceptive indeed and the more naive palate might mistake this experience for a dinner party hosted by a Harlequin who looks almost exactly like Robert Powell. Experience tells another tale.

It’s a journey this one. 57 Degrees North is more than just a name. These coordinates map the DNA sequencing of the human dramnome, proving without a doubt that the human body is 57% whisky. This cask strength Talisker is a high octane thriller with a breathless dénouement. Don’t add even a dash of water to this rabbit punch of a drink and your mouth will thank you for it. Yes, with the high volume of alcohol it may seem unforgiving, but so is life.


Special thanks to Dale Lloyd for the Fidel Castro line.

Posted in: Whisky

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  • ‘The only way to describe it is to imagine french kissing Fidel Castro while some salty old sea dog tells bawdy jokes in your ear.’ Man, you just described my ultimate sexual fantasy…

  • I’m hoping to get ever more ridiculous in future reviews. Check out this (serious) review of a Laphroaig from the web: “Seductive smells. Ripe, new-make barley sweetness. A barbecue. A flower. A sooty chimney. A horse. A can of condensed milk. A slice of apple and a piece of Gouda. An amazingly tactile nose, if that makes sense; the aromas seem to make physical contact, they touch me. Oak. Fruit. Grandparents’ musty apartments. Soft impact that is very sensual and easy at the higher-than-normal abv%. Toffee and stubbed cigarettes. Nutty cheesiness. Slow arrival of a huge peaty impact and a cloud of smoke. Smoky finish with biscuity chewiness hanging around.” This stuff is GENIUS.

  • Simon, you have had the opportunity to try one of the great ones. Not easy getting my hands on the good stuff in Canada. I had the opportunity to try the 10 YO talisker though but I’m sure it doesn’t compare. Overall an excellent whisky. I’ve deducted a few points because it is branded. To the best of my knowledge there is caramel in it (E150), & its chill filtered. I do recommend this. This whisky is in fact a winter warmer. If it’s cold or if it’s wet, Talisker is the single malt Scotch whisky that will dry you out. You could spend hours with your nose in this one! Mickey

  • Talisker and Telecasters? Fine blog! My grandfather was a distiller at Talisker (up until 1976) and it remains my favourite tipple – but then there is a family bias! Smooth and peaty. I’ve not had chance to sample the 57deg yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

  • Bloody brilliant article, Simon! Thank you for taking the time to sharpen your quill pen to such a painfully funny point. I’m going to have to go out and see if all your Taliskerian metaphors have a basis in my own biochemical ‘truth’….I’ll let you know.