Tag Archives: Compass Box

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

Compass Box Flaming Heart – 2012

Compass Box Flaming Heart Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
2012 Edition

48.9% ABV
$100 to $120
Website
FlamingHeart-Box-Bottle (1)
What the Blender Says:
Flaming Heart is back. Every few years, when we have the appropriate combination of aged whiskies, we are able to blend and bottle a new edition of the award-winning Flaming Heart. This is our fourth. It is a big, smoky malt whisky with rich, concentrated vanilla and spice character. It is unlike any other whisky, owing to the combination of distillery whiskies we use and the variety and quality of the casks.

This is a whisky inspired by a rock song.

Appropriate, perhaps, as rock music has long been associated with rebellion against various societal norms. And our humble company
has been associated, for better or for worse, with a reaction against the “traditions” of Scotch whisky production.

We like to think of our approach as reflecting a craft ethos –making whisky better for the sake of it. Flaming Heart is an ideal example of this approach.

It is a whisky that combines Highland single malt whiskies aged on the highest quality, new French oak, with a heavy-peated Islay single malt. And for the first time, we add to this edition of Flaming Heart a small portion of whiskies aged in sherry casks, providing added layers of richness and complexity.

In the melodramatic parlance of a rock lyric, it is a whisky born of fire, yet one with a big heart. Share and enjoy.

Availability
Limited release of 9,147 bottles. Bottled in August 2012.

Flavour Descriptors
A big, complex, smoky malt whisky with rich, concentrated vanilla and spice character.

Recommendations
Sipped neat or with the addition of water, to taste.

Distillery Sourcing
Single malt whiskies from distilleries located in the Northern Highlands, Islay, Speyside and Islands. Primarily from the south shore of Islay and the village of Brora (Highlands).

Wood
A combination of refill American oak (ex-Bourbon), new French oak (heavily toasted) and sherry casks.

Bottling Details
Bottled at 48.9%. Not chill filtered.
Natural colour

What Richard Says:
Nose: A nice smokiness laying low behind a sherry drizzled treacle tart. Wisps of peat float in and out at the edges.
Palate: So viscous it’s almost gooey. A quick hit of salty sea air and smoking fish followed by a rich berry sweetness that hits you late in the mouth.
Finish: A campfire built in an old whisky barrel.
Comments: I’m guessing since “Monster” is already taken then “Flaming Heart” was as aggressive a name as they could come up with. This is a massive whisky. The flavors are bold, agressive, and in your face. No holds barred for sure. That being said I think this is more a testament to blending prowess more than large scotch. There are so many bold flavors here but they augment each other instead of fighting for air time. The worst thing about this dram is that Flaming Heart is a periodic limited release. How I was able to get a bottle two years after it’s release is beyond me. This should be a wait list worthy scotch!
Rating: Must Buy

Compass Box Delilah’s

Delilah’s Blended Scotch Whisky
40% ABV
$60 – $75
Website
Delilahs-Bottle (1)
What the Blender Says:
• Delilah’s is a Limited Release Compass Box homage to Delilah’s, Mike Miller’s legendary punk rock whisky bar in Chicago, to celebrate the bar’s 20th anniversary in 2013.
• The whisky was developed jointly by John Glaser and Mike Miller as an expression of their shared vision that great whisky should be enjoyable by all.
• Delilah’s is an intense yet subtly complex Scotch whisky aged in a mix of experimental new American oak barrels and rejuvenated American oak hogsheads.
• It has been created to be perfect served as a shot with a beer.

If you like whisky and you like to have fun, you will love Delilah’s, which has been voted many times “Best whisky bar in America”.

At Delilah’s you can drink your whisky any way you like. In classic American style, you will always find an evening special for a “shot and a beer” – Which is the inspiration for this whisky. We’ve created a Scotch whisky that works perfectly as a shot with a beer. To achieve this, we have chosen a combination of single malt and single grain whiskies, all of which have been aged in American oak casks, some of which were new. So you get lovely, intense richness, vanilla character and sweetness. It’s an unusual style for Scotch whisky, but one that we think is absolutely delicious drunk as a shot along with a beer.

Happy 20th Anniversary to Mike Miller and Delilah’s!

Availability
Limited Release of 6,324 bottles. Bottled in July 2013.

Flavour Descriptors
Rich and sweet, with intense yet subtly complex, honeyed and seductive fruity notes, cereals and vanilla-cream.

Recommendations
Delicious drunk as a shot along with a beer or sipped neat with chilled water to taste.

Distillery Sourcing
Single malts from the towns of Alness and Longmorn (approx 50% of the recipe); single grain whisky from Fife (approx 50% of the recipe).

Bottling Details
Bottled at 40%. Not chill filtered.
Natural colour.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Air dried oak staves, orange blossom honey, and fresh churned butter.
Palate: Amazingly creamy in the mouth. Vanilla sugar hints at the edges as the whisky coats the mouth.
Finish: A whip crack of wood and pepper and then a slow fade.
Comments: Delicious! This is kind of like Asyla taken up a notch. This is one of those whiskies you have to be careful with because it’s dangerously drinkable. You could tear through a bottle and not realize it until you’re on the floor. It’s a limited edition so snap it up while you can!
Rating: Must Buy

Compass Box Hedonism

Hedonism by Compass Box Blended Grain Scotch Whisky
43% ABV
$90 to $110
Website
Hedonism-Box-Bottle
What the Blender Says:
Hedonism is our unique and award-winning blended grain Scotch whisky. We produce it once or twice per year, depending on our ability to source the quality of casks we require. Rare and old, it’s something special for both the collector and the new whisky enthusiast.

Rare, Old Scotch Grain Whisky
Hedonism is unusual in the Scotch whisky world: a blended grain Scotch whisky. It is very rare to see 100% grain whisky bottlings, in Scotland. Going back 100 years, grain whisky brands were more common, but they were overtaken in popularity by the big brands of blended Scotch, which comprised both grain whisky and malt whisky. Today, most Scotch grain whisky gets blended into the big brand names, typically at young ages. For Hedonism, we search for old casks of Scotch grain whisky. And we only produce Hedonism once a year, when we find casks with the right flavour profile.

Rich, Sweet, Alluring
When good Scotch grain whisky is aged in good quality American oak casks, the results can be stunning: a rich, sweet, alluring whisky, redolent of vanilla, pastry cream and coconut. You’ll find all these things in our Hedonism bottlings. We believe that great Scotch grain whisky is the little-known treasure of the Scotch whisky industry.

Flavour Descriptors
Elegant flavours of vanilla cream, toffee, coconut.

Recommendations
As an aperitif, serve with a small amount of chilled water. Late in the evening, serve neat. Also makes a great whisky sour.

Distillery Sourcing
Will vary according to batch but typically whiskies from the following distilleries: Cameron Bridge, Carsebridge, Cambus, Port Dundas or Dumbarton. 60% East Lowland Single Grain (Caramel) and 40% West Lowland Single Grain (Vanilla, Coconut, Creme Brulee).

Wood
100% first-fill American oak barrels or rejuvenated American oak Hogsheads.

Bottling Details
43%. Not chill filtered. Natural colour

What Richard Says:
Nose: As soon as you open the bottle you get a whiff of alcohol based skin treatment like Tend Skin or something. Fortunately, that fades quickly into a light, sweet creaminess.
Palate: Pina coladas and vanilla fudge. Creamy and slightly sweet and oily. An almost dulce de leche flavor.
Finish: The is sharp. It’s there and then not. This isn’t a slow fading encore. There’s also a little chalky chocolate note. It’s kind of like unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder.
Comments: I’ve had a love affair with Hedonism for years. It was my first introduction to scottish grain whiskies (and Compass Box) back in 2002. It’s still as lovely as I remember it. Batches change a little bit over time as stocks are available but John Glaser does an excellent job at holding the style. A dram not to be missed!
Rating: Must Try

Compass Box The Peat Monster 10th Anniversary

The Peat Monster 10th Anniversary Blended Malt Scotch
48.9% ABV
$100-$120
Website
PeatMonster10th-Bottle
What the Blender Says:
Ten years ago we created a bespoke blend of very peaty single malts for the owners of the Park Avenue Liquor Shop in New York. We named it “Monster” and for the label graphics we used a 19th century illustration of a bizarre and strangely beautiful creature that appeared to us to capture the idea of the whisky.

It sold so well that when it became endangered we decided to share the idea with the rest of the world. We appended “The Peat” to the front of “Monster” and breathed fresh life into the beautiful beast. It has gone on to become our best-selling Compass Box whisky.

In 2013, let’s celebrate ten years of sharing the joys of the craft blender’s art, of inspiring others in the industry and of enjoying the balanced, peaty charms of this creation. Heavy peat and smoke, combined with notes of malty richness.

For this special bottling, we have produced a special recipe of The Peat Monster, maintaining the smoky, heavy-peated intensity of the classic bottling and adding a bit more malty richness through the use of some very special, quite odd casks of peaty Highland single malt.

Availability
Limited Release of approx 5,700 bottles. Bottled in September 2013.

Flavour Descriptors
Intense aromas of peet-reek, smoke, seaside character and burnt ropes, with a subtle apple-fruitiness in the background. The palate is full, round and tremendously complex. Water brings out a spice-laden, sweet vanilla character, as well.

Recommendations
A fantastic late-night digestif malt whisky.

Distillery Sourcing
Islay single malts distilled on the south shore of the island and in the village of Port Askaig. Balanced with a rich, smoky Highland single malt and a fruity oily malt from the village of Brora.

Wood
Primarily a mix of first-fill and refill American oak, plus approximately 2% new French oak for finishing.

Bottling Details
Bottled at 48.9%. Not chill filtered. Natural colour.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Restrained and lighter than the regular release. This smells like an herb fire with fresh green herbs. Medicinal and heavier on the iodine. There is a back note of ginger snaps too.
Palate: Delicate with a bit of apples and citrus. A citrus reduction drizzled on a vanilla apple cream brulee.
Finish: Warming slowly with old campfire smoke and a little peppery bite around the edges.
Comments: As good as the regular Peat Monster is this is much better. All the things I didn’t like in the regular version are remedied. The flavors, complexity, and balance are all also ratcheted up.
Rating: Must Buy