Compass Box Asyla
Whisky Tango Foxtrot, internet
6th Jul 2012
Best price to buy online:
Tasting Notes by TheConscience
For some reason the internet does not care for Asyla, and not enough praise is heaped upon this wonderful whisky. Aggregate scores from several sites reveal a competent blend, though reviews of it are often saddled with the derision of 'entry' or 'beginner' dram. More on that later.
Asyla is a blend of 50% malt and 50% grain - the single malts from Glen Elgin, Linkwood, and Teaninich, and the grain from Cameron Bridge. All component whiskies are aged in bourbon casks and then married/blended for one year. There is judicious use of first-fill American oak for wonderful sweet, rich, vanilla notes.
Nose: effete. Honey, green apple, vanilla, sweet grain, and trace citrus.
Palate: very soft and smooth. There is a sweet-tart interaction from the honey and green apple notes, with an underlying sweet oak, grain and mild vanilla profile. Adding a few drops of water enhances the sweetness. I could drink this all day.
Finish: sweet apple fades to dry spice in an otherwise short finish. A very refreshing dram altogether.
Now, back to the topic of denigration. Very often I see this whisky described as 'beginner' or 'entry level'. The subtext in these cases is clear - the whisky in question is great for noobs and novices, but those with experience should move on.
I don't get it. What makes a whisky 'beginner'? That it's smooth? Easy to drink? Soft? Unchallenging? So, Talsiker 10 must be an 'entry' malt, right?. I found it quite smooth and fresh when I first sampled it (still do). My 'entry' malts were Lagavulin 16 and Macallan 18. Many on this site got started in whisky on Laphroaig, of all malts. The entire concept of a 'beginner' whisky seems bizarre to me - I would just as soon recommend Talsiker as I would Asyla to a scotch neophyte. Moreover, such descriptors label the whisky as something unchallenging or fit only for beginners. Let's just call this a fine whisky and leave it at that. And next time I see a reviewer label this as 'beginner' I'm going to cyber-punch them in the mouth.