On the nose, it’s evident that this is one of the more extraordinary Taliskers we’ve ever had. The nose is simultaneously flowery and custardy, chalky and musty, like a leaf in the autumn lying near a sanctified dog poo on a forest floor. How does that sanctification process work, you ask? It takes a lot of time, a spot in direct sunlight, and a visit by Pope Francis I. But despite the paradoxical improbabilities of the nose at the outset, more follow: white prunes dripping with flavor but devoid of fiber, mint plants dissolving slowly into the granite crags from which they spring, and dried peat used as a natural toothpaste.
The high alcohol announces itself on the mouth, and in an impressive way: it’s the burn that Pep O Mint Lifesavers® aspire to. There are notes of a molasses tar floater on an exceptionally bright peated whisky cocktail. The peat here is so clean, it seems it’s been purified, perhaps for holy communion. If Jacques Pépin made this into a roux for pork tenderloin, it would all go remarkably well with an ice-cold glass of Pouilly-Fuissé. And just to mess with my mojo here, Bill also got notes of Malibu Barbie wheels on the mouth. Because of course he did.
The finish is, well, quite the finish. There’s peppermint essence, the essential oil, seeping from the columns of the Parthenon. The chalkiness is exquisite. It’s a helluva dram, and one that drinks well above its age. It’s so pure and clean and exceptional that it feels holy, even sacramental. This should be reserved for a specific religious festival that few still celebrate and even fewer recall the significance of. I say this because that way, the crowds will be much smaller, and you can have more of this to yourself.
On the scale of less well-known Christian holidays–
The Talisker 15 is Pentecost–Granted, Jesus wasn’t involved, but the Holy Spirit did descend upon the Apostles, so at least there’s a miraculous quality to it. And enough people either are ignorant of it or don’t care about it that you can probably celebrate amply without having to share too much of your better whisky with anyone else.
–Our thanks to Diageo for the sample! In this case, it inspired me to buy the full bottle.