Nose: Similar to the 10 but fruitier, richer, maltier and more restrained (wrt pepper) - blood oranges, grapefruit some currants, sea air, pepper / oak and iodine.
Taste: Suprisingly more intense than the 10YO, good transference of nose to palate, balanced attack of peppery / giner spice with sweet maltiness and fruit.
Finish: Peppery long and satisfying.
Comments: My first few sips left me slightly dissapointed as it seemed a little restrained, but like a good curry, the intensity of this whisky seems to build up as you drink more (I had had some 17YO bourbon previously that evening, which may have dulled my palate). I really like this whisky a lot and would recommend it.
For me, by the time 200ml has gone by (assuming I haven't eaten anything to get in the way) I can usually tell if I like something. Usually, it's 2x 100ml tastings. I've never formed an opinion at 200ml that has been reversed at 350ml. However, everyone has their own way I think .
The first couple of times though, I'll lean back with about 90ml (3oz) and turn on some nice music (Ravel, Debussy), shut the world out, and just concentrate on the nose and the taste. Nothing but me and the whisky in the whole world. When I do it this way, my taste buds can get used to the subtleties of the dram, and often, my opinion doesn't change. Sometimes after the first 1.5oz, my opinion does change and I'm thankful I tried two consecutive 1.5oz drinks.
Nose: hint of sherry at first, then as it reacts with the air (and with a splash of water) you get pears/apricots etc.
Palate: Peppery, peaty weight without the direct peat taste, slightly fruity, restrained malt. Add water and it becomes like a Clynelish (or Longmorn with added salt), very fruity indeed. All very nicely balanced - it's tasty as well as interesting.
Finish: Long, salty. Very filling - I had it on an empty stomach and didn't fill hungry afterwards
As above, it changes the more water you add. From being the classic Talisker pepper-giant, as you add water it morphs into a (balanced) fruity malt. However, it never really loses the salt regardless of what you do to it, so the trick is getting the exact right amount of water (a very small dash) to release the fruit without killing the pepper and weightiness of it.
Overall, an excellent whisky, very interesting to drink and observe the varied elements developing, as well as being damn tasty. Not quite sure it's worth the cost though - for the coastal salt hit I'd probably go for the 14yr Clynelish at 2/3 the price.
#########one hour later#########
OK, we've been doing some mixing experiments. Talisker 10 + Clynelish 14 comes close to Talisker 18. Add a sherry-peppery whisky like Aberlour a'Bunadh and you've got almost all the aspects covered
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