Yep, this is Talisker as I love it! I did not like any of last year's special releases but I do like all of 2019 (I tasted so far). My personal favourites are Lagavulin (92 points), followed by Talisker and Cragganmore (both 90 points with a slight preference to Talisker) and Glen Ord is last (still very good 89 points in my book). Well done, Diageo! ...but the price of the Mortlach is a bad joke, isn't it?
The colour is amber and the nose offers a balanced and complex profile of malt-, peat- and wood-driven aromas. The typical Talisker herbs are well integrated into sweet barley sugars and fruits, maritime peat smoke and spicy woods. No off-note and no imbalance, that is how whisky should be (in the traditional sense, I understand that some drinkers prefer strange flaws or extremely spiked drams these days - which is absolutely fine). After some breathing the nose becomes punchier (the high abv takes its toll) which is funny because mostly it is the other way around. Some drops of water help to bring the dram back to the fine initial nose.
The taste is nicely layered on molten barley sugars with herbal infusions first but the spices kick in very soon. Later some fruits dare to show up and a tasty vanilla-toffee note develops slowly. This dram is nicely chewable and I suggest to do so for some minutes - there is a delicious tasting movie on my tongue with a lot of interesting moments to explore. What a difference to last year's herbal-monochrome 08-years old! This 15-years old is full-coloured and very entertaining without any boring take. Water releases more aromas in the nose and turns the taste sweeter and smoother but the layers are gone now. I like to explore this dram neat and then I enjoy to play a little with water - this dram swims very well.
The dram arrives warming and with an instantly coating effect on my palate without distracting impressions. Hey Diageo, great cask selection and excellent distilled spirit given this fine texture. The finish is long (accordingly) and turns a little more to the spicy side of Talisker what I like. Again not a single bitter or drying moment, these casks were all perfect, indeed. Hats off to whoever selected this year's casks - you did a marvellous job! And could you do this next year again, please? Or maybe in two years from now if the marketeers plan to go for another round of modern woodsky in 2020...