This Is Not A Luxury Whisky

This Is Not A Luxury Whisky Blended Scotch Whisky
53.1% ABV
What the Blender Says:
This is not a luxury whisky. Or is it?

The inspiration for this limited release is René Magritte’s 1929 work “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, a Surrealist painting which challenges peoples’ perceptions of reality.

The reality is, these days we hear more and more commentators talking about ‘luxury’ whiskies, which are presumably whiskies that are either rare or expensive, or, possibly, both. On one level, similar to the role Magritte’s painting played in the art world, this release is about getting people to consider for themselves what a ‘luxury’ whisky is. On another level, a level we consider much more important, this limited release is about the liquid. This is about the whisky in the bottle, which we have painstakingly sourced and blended, and the engagement and enjoyment and pleasure this whisky will bring when shared with others. This latter point is what we believe a ‘luxury’ whisky is. And at Compass Box, this is what we believe whisky, generally speaking, is all about.

Availability: Limited Edition release of 4,992 bottles. Bottled in August 2015.
Flavour Descriptors: Complex, rich, lightly smoky and opulent. Sultanas, sweet sherry and concentrated floral notes combine with deep demerara sweetness, cacao and lighter creamy coconut character. An inviting nose, fat and full-bodied on the palate with a long, lingering sweet smoke finish.
Recommendations: This particular luxury has been designed to be consumed, not preserved on a shelf. Use it to celebrate life’s little victories – a new job, a chance meeting with a friend, the conclusion of an enjoyable dinner. Above all else, share and enjoy.
Bottling Details: Bottled at 53.1%, Not chill-filtered, Natural colour

What Richard Says:
Nose: Rich fruity aroma that reminds of cognac with the slightest back smokiness.
Palate: Viscous with a canned apricot sweetness mixing with a subtle sherry impact and smoked melon rind.
Finish: Slightly herbal with fading vanilla cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Comments: Luxury? Oh yes. While it stands in the shadow of the previous release The General this whisky is not slouch in it’s own right. There is more fresh, sweet fruitiness with a subtle smoky flavor. Another sterling success for Compass Box. Bravo!
Rating: Must Buy

Longmorn 20 Year Berry Bros & Rudd

Berry Bros & Rudd Longmorn 20 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
55.6% ABV

What the Bottler Says:
Built on the site of an old chapel (actually the name Longmorn derives from “Lhanmorgund” meaning “place of the holy man”) the Longmorn Distillery was founded by John Duff (owner of Glenlossie Distillery) and two associates, Charles Shirres and George Thomson in 1894, together with its neighbour Benriach.

Despite winning early acclaim for the quality of its malts within the whisky world in those days, John Duff was caught up in the middle of the great recession and he was forced to sell the distillery to John Grant (from Glen Grant). In the early 1970’s, Longmorn merged with “The Glenlivet” to create “The Glenlivet Distillers” and was subsequently acquired by Seagram in 1977.

The distillery now belongs to “The Chivas and Glenlivet Group” that have been bought by the French group Pernod-Ricard in 2001. Longmorn is one of the few distilleries that never ceased production, it even survived the grain shortages of the Second World War.

Longmorn’s malt whisky is highly prized by blenders at least as highly as those of its sister distilleries Glen Grant and The Glenlivet. Much of the production is snatched for blends, very little is marketed as single malt. It is appreciated for its complexity and smoothness of texture. It is noted for its cereal-grain malty character and its perfumed bouquet of honeyed and floral notes.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Rich, sweet dark fruits, and a slightly dry maltiness.
Palate: Sweet like a mixture of stewed and poached fruits. Grassy with notes of creme de menthe.
Finish: Dry, malty…almost hoppy and a little hot.
Comments: This expression is a little less balanced and less complex than other expressions of Longmorn I’ve tried. It is still very enjoyable and I would recommend picking one up. Longmorn seems to only be fully appreciated by blenders. Take a chance on one and I would be surprised if you are disappointed.
Rating: Stands Out

Shieldaig Highland

Shieldaig Highland Finest Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
40% ABV
$17.99 (Total Wine Exclusive)
Shieldaig Highland
What the Retailer Says:
Highlands, Scotland- From an island off of the Highland coast.This unique Single Malt brings the brine and smoke to a region known mostly for more delicate malts. Rich, complex and slowly matured. Best enjoyed straight up or with a cube or two of ice.

What Richard Says:
Nose: A hint of smoke with a more vegetal and briney backbone.
Palate: Dry, salty, and savory. It’s more than a little bland.
Finish: “Smooth” if you go for that kind of thing. Really it is uninspiring and leaves you with nothing to note.
Comments: This bottle (and Shieldaig brand) are bottled for Total Wine by Ian Macleod Distillers. This is typical of ultra low cost private label bottles. By that I mean unoffensive but unremarkable. If you need a super cheap scotch then this is probably as good as any other $18 bottle. But that doesn’t mean I would buy it.
Rating: Probably Pass

Stiggins’ Fancy

Stiggins’ Fancy Plantation Pineapple Original Dark Rum
40% ABV
What the Blender Says:
Plantation Pineapple Rum – Stiggins’s Fancy, created by company founder Alexandre Gabriel and cocktail historian David Wondrich, is inspired by several traditional recipes used in the 1800s. Gabriel infused ripe Queen Victoria pineapples in Plantation Original Dark Rum for three months, before adding the distillate of rum macerated sith the bare rind of the fruit. The resulting 40% abv rum is described as having notes of tropical fruit, smoke, citrus peel and clove.

“David and I did this project in part out of sheer curiosity,” Gabriel said. “Mostly, however, we did it because the pineapple is the symbol of hospitality and also the symbol of the Tales of the Cocktail Apprentice program.”

The new expression is also named after the Reverend Stiggins, a character in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick
Papers whose favoured tipple was pineapple rum. “Stiggins’s Fancy is our liquid “thank you” to the Tales Apprentices who do so much for all of us. We hope you all
enjoy drinking it as much as we did making it.

“The 1824 Journal of Patent Inventions notes that it was customary in the West Indies to offer pineapple rum to
visiting European friends. Following the West Indian tradition, Plantation Pineapple Rum is our gift to you.”

What Richard Says:
Nose: With a wisp of coconut this would smell like the finest pina colada in the world. Rich, bright, sugary rum interlaced with fresh cut pineapple…as you would expect, right?
Palate: Surprisingly, this is not cloyingly sweet at all. It is the most impressive pineapple infusion that I’ve ever tasted elegantly laid into the rum.
Finish: Dry and fleeting.
Comments: This rum is amazing. It is the most impressive flavor infused spirit (not just rum) that I’ve ever tried. By itself this is crazy good and enjoyable and in a cocktail it is damn near unmatched. Kudos!
Rating: Must Buy

We would like to thank Maison Ferrand for sending us a sample to review.

Bushmills Sherry Cask Reserve

Bushmills Sherry Cask Reserve Single Malt Irish Whiskey
The Steamship Collection

40% ABV
$89 per liter
What the Distillery Says:
THE STEAMSHIP COLLECTION™ is new innovation range, inspired by travel, from Ireland’s oldest working distillery
15 February 2016: BUSHMILLS® Irish Whiskey today announced its first new range of limited edition Irish whiskeys available exclusively to shoppers in select travel retail outlets – THE STEAMSHIP COLLECTION™. The first release in the collection, SHERRY CASK RESERVE, combines the centuries-old fine Irish whiskey making craft with intercontinental flavours, to mark the 125th anniversary of the maiden voyage of SS Bushmills.

The limited edition collection is inspired by the extraordinary voyages of the SS Bushmills steamship to new corners of the world and introduces a range of special cask matured Bushmills Irish Whiskeys. In 1890 the ship, commissioned by then owners The Boyd Brothers, set course for America, travelling as far as Philadelphia and Yokohama, before eventually returning refilled with casks of rum, fortified wine and bourbon – the gateway to new flavour possibilities.

David Phelan, Director of Jose Cuervo® Global Travel Retail, said: “The launch marks an exciting phase for Bushmills and demonstrates Jose Cuervo’s commitment to unlocking the potential of this legendary whiskey in the high profile travel retail channel. The Steamship Collection is available now in Belfast, Dublin and London Heathrow, and while it can’t be purchased elsewhere, we hope distribution will extend across the world, just like the voyages of SS Bushmills to the USA, Asia and beyond.”

SHERRY CASK RESERVE is exclusively matured in first-fill Oloroso sherry butts to deliver additional spiced honey, dark chocolate and rich dried fruit flavours. The bottle is presented in a distinctive maritime-designed packaging featuring a replica illustration of the famous Bushmills steamship.

Speaking about Bushmills’ tradition for innovation Colum Egan, Master Distiller at The Old Bushmills Distillery, said, “For centuries distillers have experimented with different barrels so naturally I was inspired by the adventures of the ship and the opportunities it opened to experiment with various casks from around the world. So, together with Master Blender Helen Mulholland, we created a whiskey with a rich, complex flavour and a smooth finish – a characteristic synonymous with our range of triple distilled whiskeys.”

A limited number of bottles of SHERRY CASK RESERVE are available now exclusively to travellers in Belfast City, Dublin and Heathrow T5 priced at €80, £65, $89 for 1Litre. It is the first release in the collection, which will soon comprise three permanent expressions plus regular special releases.

Oloroso (‘scented’ in Spanish) is a darker sherry, with a rich and nutty flavour profile. This adds to sherry’s intense raisin characteristics and provides a new layer of complexity within the whiskey.

Colour: Medium rich gold
Nose: A full bodied intriguing aroma with dried fruit, spices and burnt sugar sweetness
Taste: Bushmills’ distinctive honeyed maltiness is intensified in this robust, darker liquid. Dark chocolate, nuttiness and spice with sweet oils mingle with vanilla and honey.
Finish: A long, sweet and smooth finish with subtle liquorice notes.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Brown sugar oatmeal, allspice berries, prunes, dried cranberries, and raw almonds.
Palate: Creamy honey mouthfeel that is way ahead of the 80 proof strength, chocolate covered almonds, and cloves.
Finish: Mint and fennel seed with a fading tannic finish.
Comments: This is one of the more un-Bushmill whiskeys from Bushmills I’ve had in some time. It is a very tasty whiskey in its own right but I find it even more intriguing as a different facet of the Bushmills stock. The sherry balances supremely well with the other components. Delicious!
Rating: Must Try

We would like to thank Bushmills for sending us a bottle for review.