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- Brand: Compass Box
- ABV: 48.9%
- Batch: 2018
Fair to say I have never had a bad Compass Box whisky! I loved the Spice Tree and very much enjoyed Hedonism too. All others were, at least on the tastes I've had, enjoyable as well. This is the 2018 edition of this seemingly very popular release.
Made up of a good whack of Caol Ila along with lesser amounts of Deanston and Clynelish, and some of their 'House' Highland blend, this edition also contains some sherry matured whisky in the mix which has only been done once before, apparently.
The bottle has been open a few months now, is about half full, and I have added about a quarter of a teaspoon of water and left to sit for twenty or so minutes.
Nose - Fruity notes of green apple, apricot and raisin, rise to greet one but are followed quickly by soft baking spices, sweet liquorice and drier herbal notes. The Caol Ila definitely peeks out further than the rest but there is real balance, especially between the fruity and drier mineral, seashore elements, complexity and a deft touch here. Peaty, yes, but it's no smoke bomb; perhaps a beach bonfire can be sniffed wafting over the dunes? Maybe some charred vanilla also as I delve further in. Indulgent.
Taste - Silky, rich mouth-feel that begs one to hold it in place for as long as they can. Arrival is all on condensed fruits, almost syrupy - like tinned apricot juice - but here I also get some hints of red fruits and something like mild sarsaparilla hard sweets. As it develops, the peat and smoke start to unfurl with more liquorice and a mineralic sea shell note. It maintains a good balance between sweet and dry and has an oily and waxy feel.
Finish - Long. Moves into sour territory with some lemon and orange oils and ends on a wee plume of smoke and more of that delightful liquorice note (yes I like liquorice a lot in a whisky). Some mild, soft tannins at the death with a little of the red fruit syrup hanging on.
Well, this is a delight! The blending is, frankly, exquisite and this captures all that is good about Scotch whisky. The peat certainly leads the show but it bows generously to allow all the other flavours to join the choir and sing their solos as well. I have been limiting myself to this as it is that good and deserves to be savoured. But, that said, one could be forgiven for gulping this like a parched cowboy, fresh from the prairies, at the saloon. It demands respect but encourages gluttony ;)