This is not a Luxury Whisky, 53.1% – Compass Box

About a year after it came out and therefore also a year after I could have scored much more hits with this review, I’m finally getting around to typing down my thoughts about this blended whisky by Compass Box.

This one got the company in trouble with the Scotch Whisky Association, again. They disclosed the entire make-up of the booze, including the ages. Apparently openness is not applauded with the SWA and it was seen as marketing the wrong ages of the whisky. You can only disclose the lowest age, which is rather silly if you ask me.

Anyway, apart from that the name ‘This is not a Luxury Whisky’ never really sat well with me. It’s based on Belgian painter René Magritte’s ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’. Which was called that, because it was an image of a pipe instead of a real pipe. Now, they make a whisky that is not a luxury whisky. However, the € 175 price tag begs to differ.

It’s a blended whisky made up of:

  • 79% Glen Ord, 19yo, first fill sherry butts
  • 4% Caol Ila, 30yo
  • 10.1% Strathclyde, 40yo
  • 6.9% Girvan, 40yo

(I’m not marketing anything, I’m not doing this review based on a sample supplied by Compass Box. This is just me.)

Some big scents, but rather smooth. Some vanilla, oak and chalk. Spices with also a bit of creaminess (that’s the Caol Ila, I guess). The spices are, well, European and not exotic. Some cheese and a light earthiness.

The palate is a bit more spicy with white pepper (so mostly heat and little flavor) and other spices. Oak, chalk. The creaminess is back again too, and a flavor of twigs and leaves, and maybe some pine needles.

The finish is pretty long and (you guessed it) spicy. Creamy with notes of oak and a bit more sweetness than on the palate. Vanilla, with plants and bushes (the twigs again).

Compass Box may not consider this a luxury whisky, or probably, they do but the wanted a fancy name for it based on art (like with their newer ‘The Circus’ based on a Charlie Chaplin movie). I think it is. The blending is phenomenal and the base of Glen Ord is clear with the plant-like notes and the white pepper. Caol Ila makes itself known in the creaminess and the grain whiskies come back in the hints of vanilla and oak. Very well done!

Honestly, I’m surprised this hasn’t sold out yet. Then again, I didn’t fill up my bottle share when I bought this either. Apparently people still need convincing that everything Compass Box does is quite cracking. Maybe the only company out there at the moment that I will blindly buy when stuff comes out (if I can afford it, that is).


This is not a Luxury Whisky, 53.1%, Compass Box. Available from Compass Box for £ 150


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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2 Responses to This is not a Luxury Whisky, 53.1% – Compass Box

  1. Gal Granov says:

    it’s damn good, yet the flaming heart is even nicer and cheaper.
    for this price, it’s not amazing VFM. but it’s good stuff. i would love a bottle for say 50 quid less

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