It’s been ages since I last tried a Compass Box whisky. Or at least, since I last reviewed one. There was the Transistor, which I did with Punk IPA next to it in February, but before that it was 2018. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but I see them pop up far less regularly in the marketing I receive.
And yes, that’s a fancy description of ‘newsletters, Facebook and Instagram’. But anyway, several years ago I bought and bottle-shared most of the releases. ‘3 year old deluxe’ and ‘This is not a luxury whisky’ come to mind, and were all thoroughly loved.
But now, or at least, a while ago, I decided I wanted to try this one. I read some positive feedback on it and it was discounted at Slijterij Vonk, near where I live. Also, I had a tasting coming up that needed a line-up. It all seemed to add up.
The whisky itself then! While I cannot say with any certainty that there is no Clynelish in the mix, since a bit is obfuscated by their own ‘Highland Malt Blend’, it did surprise me that it wasn’t a more significant part of the blend. To me, Compass Box and using Clynelish in their blends is, or used to be, the same thing.
What is is made up of is in the image to the left. With SWA ruling they cannot disclose the ages of the whiskies used, without anyone asking, but the internet has already taken care of that, of course.
The Mortlach is 18 years old. 14.6% Is 14 years old Deanston, while 2.5% is 17 years old, making up the 17.1%. Then there is 11 year old Glen Elgin (13.1%), 20 year old Glen Elgin (5%), 15 years old Laphroaig and the Highland Malt Blends sits at 11 years old.
Quite woody on the nose, with lots of oak shavings and a bit of a fresh barley dryness. Some pencil shavings, and beeswax behind the initial oak. Apple skins, a bit of vanilla custard and some honey sweetness.
The palate is less dry than the nose suggested, but still dry. There’s quite some black pepper, oak- and pencil shavings. It’s very consistent with the nose. There are apple peels, including their waxiness, fresh barley, a hint of custard. The honey sweetness is a little bit more pronounced, and comes with a bit of a honey-like texture too.
The finish is again very consistent. Honey sweetness, with a bit of an apple like waxiness. It goes very much towards apple crumble. There’s a bit less oak, less barley and less pepper, although none of them are completely gone.
Strangely, it is so lightly peated that I did not pick up on the whiff of smoke. With Laphroaig normally being peated to about 50ppm, and there being 5.4% of it here, that boils down to 2.7ppm and I believe I once read that a human nose picks up on things over 3 ppm. I guess that’s no exact science but it does make me feel like less of an idiot.
Anyway, this is a very nice dram. It has a nice complexity and because of the limited amount of different elements it does have quite some different flavors without it becomes a complete jumble of whiffs, touches and notes.
All in all it’s quite a nice dram, and it’s not exorbitantly priced. Not a bad buy, if I say so.
Still available at Slijterij Vonk for € 105