Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hit and run: Compass Box Whisky

Christmas is always exciting for a Scotch hobbyist.  Among my loot this year was a fantastic gift of a set of 50 mL samples of various Compass Box whiskies.  Compass Box is famous for blending different malts and getting into trouble for what they call their products.  I've probably sampled 1000 whiskies by now, but Compass Box was not among those.  With a dram apiece, I cannot in good faith claim full reviews, but here are my impressions of each:

Eleuthera (vatted malt - 46%).  Medium peat, lots of seaside character, orange peels.  Full with sticky mouth-feel, nice balance, mediocre finish.  B+

Asyla (blend - 40 %).  Feisty nose with citrus and grass.  Less assertive palate, like a watered down Glenmorangie.  Tart, tight finish. Youngish taste and feel.  B-

Oak Cross (vatted malt - 43 %).  Big wood with a little fruit and a touch of smoke, malty on palate but extremely dry on finish.  B

Spice Tree (vatted malt - 46 %).  Rich and flavorful, sweet and spicy, some oak.  Complex.  B+

Peat Monster (vatted malt - 46 %).  Huge peat, earthy.  Burnt rubber, especially on finish.  Tastes like Ledaig, but a little better balanced.  B+

Hedonism (grain - 43 %).  Wow.  Vanilla pudding, caramel, sweet on nose and palate, dry on finish with some wood.  Mature, elegant, interesting, beautiful.  Aged grain whisky shows effects of pure oak aging; educational.  A

Overall, a great set of whiskies.  Compass Box is certainly adding value to the world of whisky with these offerings.

2 comments:

  1. I've always been curious of Compass Box, but never wanted to shell out the cash for "blends." I have read good things about them over at "What Does John Know," and am interested after reading that the company raised some ire by offering whiskys with added flavor components...orange in one and spices in another, if memory serves.

    Point of interest, as you may or may not have read, the term "vatted malt" is no longer a legal Scotch term, and has been replaced by the frankly more ambiguous term "blended malt."

    Lastly, points to Compass Box for doing an affordable sampler. If only more distilleries/bottlers/distributors would follow suit.

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  2. Point of interest, as you may or may not have read, the term "vatted malt" is no longer a legal Scotch term, and has been replaced by the frankly more ambiguous term "blended malt."

    Yes, this was my little way of sticking it to The Man. I suspect the high whisky roundtable is dominated by established interests that would prefer not to see vatted malts gain market share.

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