I was surprised to find I've never reviewed a GKS before (how is that possible?) This expression is Compass Box's stab at creating blends in the way they did in the 19th Century (what a research project that would be!) Bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market, the component parts here are whiskies between 7 and 13 years old:
46% Cameronbridge grain (rechar bourbon barrel)
8% Linkwood (first fill sherry butt)
16% Highland Malt Blend (custom French oak heavily toasted barrel)
30% Clynelish (rechar bourbon barrel)
After blending this was married in Cask No. 8 (French oak barrel) on Jan 18 2017, yielding 210 bottles on June 16 2019.
The colour is a golden honey. Fruity on the nose with strawberries, mango skins, peat smoke and heather honey. Candied ginger. Light cinnamon. Orange peel. Black liquorice in the background. Slightly waxy. Water brings out malt and more ginger. The spice overpowers the fruit a little bit but that's OK, it works.
On the palate we have more orange (more like marmalade), light caramel and even lighter peat. Creamy mouthfeel. Big honey notes. More strawberries, banana cream and Bartlett pears. Even better with water, bringing out berries and even more honey. The fruitiness is well balanced by the spice and peat.
The finish is toasted oak and a burst of spice (cloves and black pepper). For those who still think blends are inherently inferior than malts, this illustrates the art of blending extremely well. It's all about the balance.