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This is from a 375mL bottle I bought in November of 2012.
Nose: Very fruity indeed! Tons of bright acidity from citrus brings out the apple and peach. It is like a fruit salad with bright fruits like raspberry, strawberry, lime, orange, kiwi, guava, and mango all in a big bowl. All of that fruit rests on a subtle bed of malt with only a whisper of smoke in the background. Well crafted blended nose this one.
Taste: Again there is ton of fruit here with a hint of something off . . . not bad but not great. I think a hint of smoke on the back end might bump it up a bit.
Finish: A nice blast of honey and vanilla with a hint of smoke in the background. Yup, another wave of that honey vanilla. Not quite my thing. I would have liked more smoke. The spices are dark and low here very unlike Teachers’. The peat and smoke fall right between Teachers and Grants. Almost hints of sherry with some of that dark fruit.
Complexity, Balance: More complex then Teachers; on par with Grants. I would say it is almost on par with Grants for balance, but for the very plain and dull arrival on the tongue. If this is an artisan crafted blend then blends are not for me. I can’t stand all this tip-toeing around; give me something bold and pungent! I guess the point is lost on me.
Aesthetic experience: I really like that this is made by John Glaser at Compass Box. The bottle is cool (especially being able to by it at 375mL) and the label is ok in a retro-20’s style. I like the 43% but wish it were 46%. And I like the ncf without color in theory. However, I like that I can but Teacher’s into my decanter and it looks fantastic. Can’t do that with “Mr. Hazy” here.
Conclusion: I really wanted to like this blend. I really want to like Compass Box. However, the more I try this style the more I know that I am not a blend guy. I wish I were. I don’t like the snobbery of drinking “single malts.” That said, it is the style I like. This tasting with Compass Box kept me from buying Flaming Heart this weekend. In theory I would love . . . but as a Blended Malt (or Vatted Malt) I know it will be too delicate and refined for me. Glad I got to try a 375mL of this guy. Won’t buy again.