Nose: Very Talisker indeed, with sweet peat, minerals, limestone, lilac, banana, nuts, butter, lemon lozenges, and brine.
Palate: Perhaps a bit thicker and oilier than the 10. Honey, minerals, gentle peat, caramelized onion, brine, butter, and lilac.
Finish: Medium in length and as coastal as they come. Lots of brine, peat, almonds, minerals, oysters, charcoal, honey, earth, and ash, and heather.
Thoughts: You can pick apart the differences, but this is a similar enough profile to the 10 year old. Admittedly it’s much saltier, slightly peatier, and has a different texture. But it also has a flatter finish and less depth of flavour. I consider the 10 to be a benchmark for Talisker, one that often outshines its fancier, more expensive siblings. But at least with the DE’s or Port Ruighe you get a finish, with the 57 North you get abv, and with aged releases there’s, well… age. This doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the table. I get that with these particular casks they’re highlighting the house style, but I thought the 10 year old was doing a good job of that already.
Also, reusing and rejuvenating their own casks and releasing a NAS whisky with a heftier price tag than the 10 seems rather dubious to me. Is using younger stock and needing fewer new barrels more expensive than the cost of aging something for 10 years? Here in Taiwan the Storm is about $20 more expensive than the 10, which is far too much.
Then again maybe I’m getting too critical here. It’s still a drinkable and enjoyable whisky. And yes, it’s very Talisker-y. I’d buy this again if the price were reasonable.