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Compass Box Delilah's Blended Scotch

Party Favor, Party Flavor

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@WhiskyBeeReview by @WhiskyBee

9th Sep 2013

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Delilah’s is punk-rock bar in Chicago that also happens to have a reputation as one of the great whisky bars in the USA. As my taste in music begins with Louis Armstrong and ends with the Beatles (or maybe some Elvis Costello if I’m in a semi-punk mood), I’ve never visited Delilah’s. But I must admit, the place sounds like a hoot: vintage B-movies on the big screens, arcade games, kitschy décor, and more than 600 whiskies from which to choose. I might brave a visit one of these days, if they admit old geezers like me.

In celebration of Delilah’s 20th anniversary, Compass Box Master Blender John Glaser created this easy-sipping blend at the request of Delilah’s owner Mike Miller. As Glaser explains, “Mike wanted a Scotch whisky that, in his words, ‘thinks it’s a Bourbon,’ so we sourced some single malts aged in new American oak hogsheads, something that’s very hard to find in Scotland.”

I paid my once-every-other-month visit to the Binny’s outlet in Orland Park, Illinois today, and was pleasantly surprised to find this one on the shelf. I’ve had good luck with Compass Box in the past and couldn’t pass up this semi-limited edition (6,324 bottles to be exact) that’s (mostly) exclusive to the Chicago area (1200 bottles are earmarked for overseas markets). I knew it wasn’t supposed to be anything particularly complex or challenging—it’s designed to be an easy sipper for a party-atmosphere bar, after all—but it’s Compass Box, it’s John Glaser, so how bad could it be?

Tasting notes based on my second dram from a bottle cracked open tonight. So smooth and drinkable, the first dram was gone before I noticed it.

Nose: Fluffy vanilla, fruity syrup, and plenty of grain. A slight hint of cinnamon now and then. I get some quality oak wood as well. The most bourbon-y part of the experience. Reminds me of a milder Knob Creek.

Palate: Bolder than expected, but very smooth nonetheless. The rich vanilla, baked cherries, and honey compensate for lack of complexity. The same flavors continue in the medium-length finish, along with enough grain to remind that this is indeed blended Scotch.

The complete official name of this blend is Compass Box Delilah’s American Oak Aged Blended Scotch Whisky. That’s more of a mouthful than the whisky itself! But I’m not complaining. Delilah’s doesn’t pretend to be anything more than what it is, and it serves its intended purpose well. It’s a fine party whisky, for when you want to enjoy friends, music, and food as much as what you’re sipping. Pour it over ice, use it as a mixer, have a shot with a beer. Nobody will be offended.

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