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Compass Box Great King Street - Artist's Blend

If this is an artisan blend . . .

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@NockReview by @Nock

15th Oct 2013


Compass Box Great King Street - Artist's Blend
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

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conorrob commented

Great review, I tend to agree... must be said though if you find the right blend at the right price it can be fantastic ... I tried Hibiki 17 and it blew my socks off! Haven't got round to writing a review yet. Compass box has always interested me too, will have to try one some day.

10 years ago 0

MaltActivist commented

Thanks for the great review. I've only managed a taste of the Peat Monster from the CB series and wasn't too impressed. I picked up Flaming Heart, Orangerie and Hedonism based purely on their packaging. They do look good sitting in the bar, I must admit.

Since reviews in general haven't been that positive I haven't been too inclined to uncork them. What do you suggest?

10 years ago 0

Nock commented

@conorrob I have heard great things about the Hibiki 17 (and the bottle looks cool). It just isn't anywhere to be found in my "buying region."

@tabarakRazvi I am very interested in the Flaming Heart. It sounds like a "crafted Brora" (Clynelish mixed with Laphroaig? Sounds awesome!) and I love me some Brora! But after tasting this and reading John's description . . . I have too much doubt. So I passed on my opportunity to buy it. However, I personally would love to read a review of yours when you decided to pop it open. Hedonism - it does not sound like my kind of thing at all. And I honestly haven't paid attention to anything about Orangerie.

10 years ago 0

Ol_Jas commented

To me, blended malts always sound fun and desirable until I find out what the components are. Then I think, "Hey - I've already got Clynelish and Laphroaig at home. I can mix 'em if I want. Why buy this pre-mixed bottle?" And then I don't buy it.

Unless the blender is really doing something interesting (which Compass Box could easily claim; I don't know), or unless they've sourced some really interesting components, then I'm not interested enough to buy a bottle. Give me a taste, sure--I'm keen to try it. Buy probably, I'll be buying single malts and having my personal mixing fun at home.

10 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Nock, you are a die-hard Big Flavours Guy. This artist's blend is popular with many and is very nice in its genre, but is a typical citrusy low ABV blended Scotch. You are just not THAT BLENDED SCOTCH guy.

I tried hard to find some robust beverages for you to drink when last we met, and I am glad that I succeeded,...with the help of my sister, of course.

10 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

I must put in a plug for compass box peat monster. It's 100% malt, 200% flavour...

10 years ago 0