Producer: Compass Box. Distillers: see below. ABV: 53.1%. Age: 19-40 years. Price: $200-225.
This is going to be fun.
With This Is Not a Luxury Whisky, Compass Box’s marketing game has gotten as strong as its blending. They’re embracing and rejecting scotch whisky’s elite image at the same time–and looking damn good doing it. And I’m happy to report that what’s in the bottle, a 53.1% ABV blend of 19-, 30-, and 40-year-old malt and grain whiskies, is just as good.
With just under 5,000 bottles made, Compass Box’s latest special release combines two single malts and two grain whiskies: 79% of the total is 19-year-old sherry butt-matured single malt from Glen Ord, with the other 21% made up of 40-year-old grain whiskies from Strathclyde and Girvan, and a 30-year-old malt from Caol Ila.
Nose: Pine. Sherry fruits. Raisin biscuits. Amazingly complex interplay of tiny sparkling nuances. Palate: plenty of spice. Chocolate fondue. Dark old oak notes, rich, but the tannins are fully under control. Sweet pipe smoke. Finish: long, mouth-coating, lovely peppery tingle that goes on and on. Utterly drinkable at 53.1% ABV cask strength, but even more bright and vibrant with a drop of water.
Compass Box founder and master blender John Glaser has long since proven himself as one of the best whisky blenders working. He’s done it again. And he’s clearly having fun doing it. Cheers, friends! – BO
Compass Box generously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.