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.