It’s been a while since I promised to write up the other two drams I got sent from Compass Box. This time it’s Spice Tree, soon, it’s going to be a review of the Peat Monster.
The Spice Tree it, obviously, a dram that focuses on spicy flavours. And probably some wood too. I think I have previously had a sip of Spice Tree, but I can’t remember when or where. I did remember Oak Cross, and Peat Monster too. Some others I recall as well, and I have a sample of The General waiting for me in the UK. Looking forward to that!
Spice Tree has a bit of a history to it, since the focus of this whisky is on the Toasted French Oak that gives off the spicy flavours. When it came out Compass Box added oak staves to the inside of the cask but the SWA got pissed about that and decided they couldn’t. To make it a legal whisky again Compass Box changed the recipe to use new Toasted French oak heads to the cask instead of some extra oak inside the cask. Clever, but I wouldn’t have minded the initial recipe.
I’m not surprised to find a lot of wood on the nose. It’s spicy too, which still does not surprise me. It’s slightly salty with lots of allspice. I even find some ‘Provencal’ herbs you can get at the supermarket for cooking, as well as some curry spices. Very focused on the kitchen cupboard, this dram.
The palate has a spicy feel to it without that coming from the alcohol. Oak, white pepper, chili pepper too. More oak, dry grass (that’s called hay, you idiot), more oak and French oak to boot.
The finish is more towards the spices again, contrary to the palate’s oak focus. Rather rich and pretty long.
After about half an hour in the glass it gets a bit thinner and more gentle on the palate.
I’m still considering what to say about this whisky, but let’s start with me liking this over the Oak Cross. I think they’re doing a comparable trick, with the oak all over the place. I do feel the added spiciness keeps this one a bit more interesting. It has a bit more depth.
I generally like spicy whiskies and this one is no exception. There’s a lot going on and the curry spices at the same time as the more gentle French kind is an interesting twist.
A bottle of this stuff currently sets you back less than 50 euros which is an added benefit, for such designer whisky. It’s not often that I use that term in a positive way. What I mean by it is that the guys at Compass Box set out to make a certain kind of whisky and started buying, aging and blending towards that goal. Usually those whiskies have a rather short-lasting draw or feel too manufactured, but this one doesn’t.
Spice Tree, 46%, Compass Box, available at Master of Malt for 47 euros.
Thanks to the folks at Compass Box for sending me this! Much obliged!