Tag Archives: Compass Box

Compass Box Eleuthera

Compass Box Eleuthera Vatted Scotch Whisky
46% ABV
$60
Website
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What the Blender Says:
Originally available in all our markets, “Eleuthera” was our very first vatted malt. Typically it combined 15 year-old malt whisky from the village of Brora, aged in re-charred hogsheads, with 12 year-old malt from the village of Port Askaig. Jim Murray said of our first release: “Quite simply, one of the most complex and truly magnificent vatted malts of all time. A collector’s piece.” Sadly, when the 15 year-old malt we needed was no longer available aged in re-charred casks, we decided to retire “Eleuthera” rather than overhaul the recipe.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Smokey sea mist with peat, earthy floral notes along with citrus and vanilla.
Palate: Rich/silky mouthfeel, fruity with subtle spice notes (nutmeg) along with peat.
Finish: Moderately long and pleasantly lingering.
Comments: Damn John Glasser and the folks at Compass Box for making such a delicious whisky, and then stopping. Ok – maybe it’s my fault for only discovering this gem 10 yrs after they stopped producing it. And I must say that I do respect their choice to not mess with the recipe when they couldn’t get the components. I’ll count my blessings that I did find a bottle so long after. In case it isn’t clear, I really love this whisky. This reminds me of Scotland – the sea air, wisps of floral, peaty earthiness. The first time I nosed this whisky, it transported me to the motherland. I’m a big fan of Compass Box Flaming Heart, and this reminds me a lot of that – a more subdued/tamed version, but with a truly masterful balance of smoke/sweet/peat/spice. This is the kind of whisky I could pour and ponder in any season. If I had a Delorean . . . ok, I guess I’d fill it up with whisky from either further back than 2005 – but I’d definitely make a pitstop there to pick some of these up!
Rating: Must Buy

What Richard Says:
Nose: Heavy notes of grass and campfire ash. Benton’s smoked bacon with a citrus zest.
Palate: Rich and fruity sweet with a well rounded peaty backbone. Sea salt sprinkled vanilla cream.
Finish: The finish is heavier on the than the rest. It is incredibly balanced and lingers for a while.
Comments: Damn I miss this whisky. I was fortunate enough to drink my share way back when. I think this was the second bottle of Compass Box that I ever owned after Hedonism. It is really good and I’m glad that I got to revisit it thanks to Gary finding a dusty bottle in Florida. This hasn’t been made for 12 years so if you see one then definitely buy it. If you don’t like then invite us over and we will help you finish it. But I have a hard time thinking that you won’t like it.
Rating: Must Buy

Peat Monster Cask Strength

The Peat Monster Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
57.3% ABV
$125 (1.75 Liter)
Website
PeatMonsterCaskStrength-Bottle
What the Blender Says:
This is a big whisky.

We’ve taken our already big, already peaty, already smoky malt Scotch whisky, The Peat Monster, and delivered it at cask strength in a double-size magnum bottle. Available only for a short time and only in this large format, it’s a unique opportunity to explore the complex balance of our usual Peat Monster at a higher bottling strength.

Whiskies are traditionally diluted to bottling strength with water, but with this limited edition release we have explored the intensity and power of whisky straight from the cask. Using exactly the same blend of component whiskies as our classic Peat Monster bottling, the aromas and flavours are similar but more concentrated and powerful. The marriage of Islay and heavy peated Highland single malts creates a warming spectrum of seaside and medicinal peatiness, along with smokiness, all surrounding a core of fruity malt whisky character.

Yes, it’s big. Yes, it’s peaty. Yes, it’s smoky. But like our classic bottling, this is far from a one-dimensional monster. We invite you to try it with and without water and see what complexities you can find. However you drink it, share and enjoy!

Availability
Cask Strength Limited Edition release of 2,000 magnums.
Bottled in February 2015.

Flavour Descriptors
Rich and full on the palate with complex earthy peat and smoke characters. Hints of citrus fruit, nuttiness
and toasted oak.

Recommendations
For the bold, this is an incredibly complex and warming whisky to enjoy at cask strength. We also find it fascinating to add small amounts of water as we sip a glass, admiring the slow evolution in taste as the whisky opens up its wealth of flavour compounds.

Bottling Details
Bottled at 57.3%
Not chill filtered
Natural colour
Available only as magnums (1.5l / 1.75l)

What Richard Says:
Nose: Deep smokiness reminiscent of morning after campfires, licorice notes, and fresh split oak.
Palate: Spicier, richer version of the standard peat monster. Blood oranges and roasted peanuts.
Finish: Medicinal, slightly astringent as the oak, black pepper, and soot fade.
Comments: You better really like this because it only comes in really big bottles. Fortunately this is delicious. If you aren’t a fan of peaty scotch then this isn’t going to change your mind. However, if that is your thing then you should grab one of these. The best things of standard Peat Monster, in the vein of Laphroaig cask strength, with the balance of Lagavulin. Great whiskey!
Rating: Must Try

Hedonism Quindecimus

Hedonism Quindecimus Blended Grain Whisky
Fifteenth Anniversary Limited Edition

46% ABV
$175 – $200
Website
HedonismQuindecimus-Bottle
What the Blender Says:
‘Everything in moderation, including moderation.’ – Oscar Wilde

Since we launched the Compass Box Whisky Company in 2000, we have always believed there can be a certain elegance in excess. Our first bottling – the original Hedonism – explored a brave new world of flavor previously uncharted in the world of Scotch. Eight years later, with Hedonism Maximus we used exclusively older, rarer whiskies in pursuit of the indulgent, unctuous, august pleasure that we knew only mature stock could deliver.

In this our fifteenth anniversary year, we felt it was time to go back to where it all started for Compass Box and reinvent Hedonism once more for a very limited edition celebratory bottling.

Hedonism Quindecimus uses grain whiskies of varying ages from five distilleries to create a riotous, intergenerational celebration of all that the interplay between grain spirit and American oak can deliver. The joie de vivre of youth and complexity of age combine to create something seductive, mouth-coating and irresistible.

So join us in this, our fifteenth anniversary toast to all of you that have joined us on the journey since our first bottling. To fifteen years of joyful pleasure. To the thrill of exploration. And of course to the spirit of occasional, unabashed excess.

Availability
Fifteenth Anniversary Limited Edition release of 5,689 bottles.
Bottled in February 2015.

Flavour Descriptors
The combination of grain whiskies from different distilleries and of varying ages has created extraordinary complexity and juxtapositions of flavour. Indulgent yet lively, unctuous yet light, you will find a deep, sweet caramel coconut succulence combining with exultant tropical fruits.

Recommendations
Drink this whisky as any true Hedonist would – however you like it, whenever you feel like it and in whatever quantity you deem appropriate. We particularly enjoy Quindecimus paired with sweet desserts, salted caramel or Highland fudge.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Vanilla bean ice cream, honeysuckles, and fresh cut grass.
Palate: Light and creamy on the palate with a lovely crisp apple and fruit mix sweetness.  Floating in the back is this oddly coy hint of milk chocolate (somewhere near Cadbury or UK Kit Kat).
Finish: A slight white pepper kick followed by a slow fading oak.
Comments: This is another tremendous effort by John Glaser and Compass Box. Hedonism changed my religion on grain whiskey many years ago and I continue to enjoy it to this day. It’s a delightful light dram that plays well in many occassions. This is a more refined specimin in the same vein. Grab a bottle if you are a Compass Box fan and you won’t regret it. If you are new to grain and/or Compass Box $175 may be a bit of a hurdle for your first foray.

For those that want more specifics on the components of this one it would be:

  • 17.6% North British 20 Year Old from first-fill American standard barrels
  • 36.6% Port Dundas 25 Year Old from rejuventated hogsheads
  • 8.4% Dumbarton 28 Year Old from American standard barrels
  • 19.4% Port Dundas 20 Year Old from first-fill American standard barrels
  • 18% 32 Year Old Loch Lomond provided “mystery” grain which was a previous grain blend aged in American standard barrels

Rating: Must Try

Compass Box Great King Street New York Blend

Compass Box Great King Street New York Blend Blended Scotch Whisky
46% ABV
$55 to $70
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What the Blender Says:
GREAT KING STREET, the Blended Scotch whisky specialist brand launched by the Compass Box Whisky Company, has announced they will launch next month their NEW YORK BLEND, the first of the brand’s Limited Release regional blends.

Compass Box founder and Great King Street whiskymaker John Glaser explains: “We were approached by the New York WhiskyFest last year asking us to debut a new whisky at this year’s festival, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to start a series of regional blends, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. What better place to begin than New York?”

Glaser has long been inspired by the old Scotch whisky blending houses of 120 years ago who commonly made different blends for regional tastes. He has also been inspired by the ways in which blends were made in this period, delivering far more flavour than those of today. These things have formed the basis of his whiskymaking approach for the Great King Street brand.

For the New York Blend, Glaser made two key discoveries that inspired this one-off, limited edition bottling. One was an ancient New York Times article describing an 1890s bartender named Patrick Duffy who was responsible for instigating the importation of branded Scotch whisky in glass bottles for the first time into New York. Second, was an old Scotch blend recipe from a Glasgow blending house from the same era. Glaser fashioned a blend based on the old recipe and dedicated the bottling to Duffy, and the New York Blend was born.

What sets this Great King Street blend apart from Scotch whisky blends of today is flavour. The New York Blend uses lots of peaty single malts, plenty of sherry cask-aged single malts, and a much higher proportion of malt to grain whisky (80%/20%) than is typically used today (generally 30%/70%).

The Great King Street “New York Blend” was launched on Saturday, October 27th, 2012 at the New York Whisky Fest at the Marriot Marquis hotel in Manhattan. Only 1,840 bottles are being released and it will be available primarily in the New York metropolitan area and via the Compass Box Whisky Company web site. Glaser plans more Great King Street regional blends in the future, but for now he is mum about the details of where or when!

What Richard Says:
Nose: Big doses of peat and sherry. It’s like an Aberlour – Laphroaig love child.
Palate: Surprising sweet punch up front. Sherry, ripe stone fruit, and dark berries all served with brine.
Finish: A nice slow smokiness playing around the wood. A Broadway encore!
Comments: Bam! This resembles it’s Great King Street stablemate in name only. This is a large, arrogant, and muscular blend. It grabs your attention and gets in your face…not unlike some other New Yorkers. An answer to the Johnnie Walker blues? [wink] No doubt!
Rating: Must Try

Compass Box The General

Compass Box The General Blended Scotch Whisky
Bottle 1625
53.4% ABV
$300 to $350
Website
TheGeneral-Bottle
What the Blender Says:
It’s been a good year for sourcing ridiculously rare parcels of extraordinary whisky.

Two different companies approached us recently with similar stories: they each had several casks of Blended Scotch that had been blended at quite young ages, then not required and put back into cask and left to age. One parcel was 33 years-old and the other was…well, I’m afraid I can’t tell you. (By telling you the age of the other parcel, some might argue we are in violation of the UK’s Scotch Whisky Regulations – citation 2009 No. 2890. But that’s another story.)

We know little of the component whiskies, only that, being Blended Scotch Whisky, they were blends of both single malt and single grain whiskies.
We could tell by tasting that some were aged in former American whisky casks and some in sherry casks. But the provenance wasn’t really important, because each parcel had matured into something extraordinary in flavour, and to us, as blenders, they each represented distinct and complementary flavour profiles.

And this is where things got interesting for us. While each parcel was compelling in its own right, we had the feeling that by combining them in the right proportions, we could make something even more interesting. So we experimented for many weeks, blending the two together at different proportions before landing on the recipe in this bottle.

The result is a whisky with the “antique” character lovers of old whiskies seek out.

Availability
Limited Release of 1,698 individually-numbered bottles. Bottled in November 2013.

Flavour Descriptors
It has extraordinary depth, with aromas and flavours reminiscent of spices, dried fruits and old sherry wine character. The palate is very soft, a
virtue of blending malt whisky with grain whisky, and the finish is very, very long.

Recommendations
This is a classic late-night-and-into-the-early morning whisky.

Bottling Details
Bottled at 53.4%
Not chill-filtered
Natural colour

What Richard Says:
Nose: Oh God, that is amazing. There is just something about old scotch. Light sweet sherry, orange marmalade, apricots, and old furniture polish.
Palate: Old book leather, fine aged tobacco, cinnamon, clove, cardamon, oatmeal raisin cookies, and rich old oak furniture.
Finish: A little dusty but in a good way. It’s like settling into an old leather arm chair in a gentleman’s study that was closed up for a while. There’s a dry oak and dusting of Dutch processed cocoa powder finish that lingers for what seems like hours.
Comments: Oddly, the best thing about this whisky isn’t even the whisky itself. It’s the conversation we (GBS members) had with John Glaser about this while tasting it for the first time. The guy’s knowledge and passion really shine through. This new limited release is the result of two blends that came into the possession of Compass Box. According to Mr. Glaser one is around 33 years old and of unknown province. This one came via a whisky broker. The other is around 40 years and came from Gordon and MacPhail. The uniqueness of this whisky has many layers. It’s very old. It is a blend of blends. And those blends were pre-blended and aged as blends subsequent to blending. The back story is almost as interesting as the whisky.
Rating: Must Buy