I do not have a good history with Talisker's NAS releases. While some of them such as 57º North or their 175th Anniversary Edition have been fêted within the community, their more recent attempts such as Dark Storm were practically undrinkable. So it was with some trepidation that I bought this whisky, saved only by the fact that it wasn't wildly expensive, so it seemed worth the risk on the off chance that I would get another drinkable Talisker.
This whisky is aged in indeterminate casks (though I'd put some money on recharred hogsheads being in the mix), then bottled at 45.8% probably with coloring and possibly with chill filtration.
Game of Thrones House Greyjoy Talisker Select Reserve
Nose: strong but not unpleasant rounded oak, mossy/herbal peat smoke, incense, gently floral, caramel/butterscotch, a little chocolate. After adding a few drops of water the oak expands, the peat becomes more herbal, and the floral character mostly disappears.
Taste: barrel and malt sweetness beginning up front and continuing all the way through, vague berry fruitiness with floral overtones in the middle. After dilution the oak becomes more tannic and the profile is bittersweet overall.
Finish: bittersweet oak, a touch of peat, sweet berries
While this is a more modern Talisker than I would prefer, it's honestly pretty good. The oak is the defining feature, but it doesn't have the unpleasant character of Dark Storm. I liked that some of the floral character that Talisker can have came out and it had a decent amount of peat without being too sharp.
I won't tell you that this is a must-buy bottle, but if you're a Talisker fan and happen to find it at MSRP, I do think it's worth the price. Just don't pay collector's prices unless you're dead set on having a full set.
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