Tag Archives: clynelish

Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend Review

Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend – Producer: Compass Box. Distillers: Cameronbridge, Benrinnes, Laphroaig, Clynelish, Miltonduff, undisclosed Highland distiller. ABV: 43%. Blend:66% malt, 34% grain. Price: $30-35.

I don’t buy whisky by the case, but if I did, this one would tempt me.

The Great King Street blended whiskies from Compass Box are the perfect encapsulation of everything I love about the blender. They combine quality, distinctiveness, and value in a way that virtually no one else in the business can.

The Artist’s Blend is the more delicate, honeyed, Speyside-oriented of the two. (Check out my very enthusiastic review of that one too.) The Glasgow Blend takes its name from the historical preference of Glaswegians–a robust clan themselves–for more robust whiskies. Accordingly, this blend is equally strong on the peat and the sherry.

With customary transparency, Compass Box discloses the exact percentages of the components in the Glasgow Blend. The core is 35% grain whisky from Cameronbridge and 34% malt from Benrinnes. They’re topped with a generous helping (17%) of Laphroaig, and splashes of Clynelish, Miltonduff, and an undisclosed Highland malt.

The nose lets you know you’re in for something good. The peat gets up close and personal right away. There are canned peaches, strawberry jam, and coconut custard pie. A certain waxiness from the grain component. Strong cedar, shading toward mesquite.

The palate has a Bowmore-esque mix of strawberry and watermelon with very distinct peat. Behind that, grilled peach, pear, raspberry, cinnamon, and ginger.

The finish is a pleasant ramp down from the palate. Long and drying, with blackberry and lingering campfire embers.

All that for under $40? Man. Since it’s a blend, you’ll hear loose talk about rocks and soda. For me, the Glasgow Blend is too good to mix.

Cheers, friends! – BO

Buy Compass Box whisky online from Mash + Grape

Clynelish 14 Review

Distillery: Clynelish. Region: Highlands. ABV: 46%. Age: 14 years. Price: $55-65.

Where once there was Brora, now there is Clynelish (pron. KLINE-lish). The legendary heavily peated Brora came from an upper Highlands distillery known as Clynelish 1–right across the street from today’s Clynelish 2. C1 was supposed to be shuttered when the more modern C2 opened in 1968, but it got a new lease on life with the new name Brora, and the two ran side by side from 1969-83, when C1 was closed for good.

That ’69-83 Islay-style run at Brora was legendarily good, but the milder malt made at its sister distillery across the street is nothing to sneeze at.

Clynelish is peated at 30ppm, which for me is a real sweet spot.(Ardbeg 10 is 55-65ppm for comparison.) Most of Clynelish’s production is blended into Johnnie Walker Gold, but it’s in this distillery bottling (and the odd independent bottling) that it shines as a single malt.

Intriguing, supple mix of golden malt, strawberry roll, toasty baked goods, and candles on the nose. More and more interesting with time in the glass. The peat is just detectable on the palate–closer to the sweet mesquite end of the spectrum than the briny. Buttery char, without losing its brightness. The shortish finish brings you back for another sip quickly.

There’s something for everyone here, except the most incorrigible extremists. A fair 46% ABV, $55-65. Save one for later–you’ll be glad you did.

Cheers, friends! -BO