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Compass Box Hedonism

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Compass Box Hedonism

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Compass Box Hedonism

I previously tried two versions of Hedonism, the blended grain that is composed (at least, that’s what I’ve been told) with Cameronbrigde and Cambus single grains. The first was the regular Hedonism from 2009 (of which the one I will try today is simply the new batch) and the Quindecimus at a slightly higher ABV. Let’s see if the current version pleases as well. Someone whispered into my ear that all single grains used for this batch are between 12 and 29 years old and matured on first fill American barrels.

On the nose, the first thing that comes to mind is bourbon – that is not very surprising, of course. Some creamy, sweetened butter and vanilla, some corn on the BBQ and a feistly little red pepper. Coconut is not lacking either.

The arrival is silky soft and creamy on sweet malt, coconut and pepper – good continuation fo the nose. The spices are a bit louder than on the nose.

The finish is short and sweet (literally and metaphorically) on ginger and coconut.

While Compass Box had an ironclad reputation for creating fantastic whisky’s, I find this one – while certainly not bad – rather ordinary. Nothing wrong with it, but not special either.


I've been on a bit of a Compass Box run lately thanks to them being in the spotlight lately because of the whole transparency issue. I've written extensively about that in my other reviews so I think I'm going to park that gripe where I can't see it any more.

Other than really pretty labels Compass Box has the unique ability of mixing whiskies together and making some damn fine blends. While they usually usually use single malts Hedonism is 100% blended grain whisky.

Grain whiskies from Cameron Bridge, Carsebridge, Cambus, Port Dundas or Dumbarton are used in putting this blend together and then left to marry in a rejuvenated or re-fill American oak barrel for up to two years.

The result is an extremely delicate, sweet and floral whisky. Those who know me know that I like big strong flavors but once in a while it's nice to sit back and experience the sweeter, more subtle, side of life.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 43% ABV

So sweet! Full of fruits. Sweet drops. Candy. Fondant. White chocolate. Hazelnut. Bananas. Touch of oak. Bubble gum. Coconut cream. Vanilla. Lots of perfume. Tangerine. Jeez Louise I have seldom put my nose in something this sweet. I like but perhaps it's way too sweet for some. 22/25

Medium body. Creamy mouthfeel. Coconut cream. Vanilla. Quite oily if you ask me. Robust. Very floral. Touch of oak. Green tobacco. Mild peppers. Bubble gum. Pink Tutti Fruity ice cream. I think I've mentioned how sweet this is. 22/25

Long. Lovely. Very fruity. Vanilla. Oak. 22/25

OK I know I've made it sound like this is literally the sweetest thing you'll ever put in your mouth (insert dirty thought here) but to be honest it's delicate and subtle enough to make you really like it. I never liked sweet before but ever since I quite smoking I've developed a bit of a sweet tooth. Which probably explains why I like it.

Sounds like my cup of tea...I'll be getting me a bottle of this!!!


Compass Box, the self proclaimed "artisan Whisky makers" and all around marketing gurus love to tantalise us with different kinds of offerings. Hedonism is their Blended Grain Whisky.

Batches vary and are made from a combination of 8 - 15 casks from a variety of distilleries.

The batch I am drinking is limited release bottling number: HE18MMXI. The bottles is half full (I am ever the optimist) and has been open for nearly 3 months.

The beautiful smoked bottle disguises the palest of Whiskies that it hides within. This oily blend has good legs indicating some age in there. At this stage you should be getting excited. The box, the bottle, the appearance all indicate class.

The nose is light, creamy, plenty of vanilla and fudge.

It is soft, creamy, silky on the palate. The vanilla is there along with mild spices, nicely peppery.

The finish is creamy, a tang of fresh ginger, sweet but short.

I have been drinking a variety of Bourbons recently. Initially this bottle seems much more classy that the American Grain Whiskies. The creamy, silkiness oozes quality on the nose and initially on the palate but it fades away and leaves me feeling unfulfilled.

It is interesting, clearly a well made and nicely balanced product but it lacks a suitable ending. I wanted more rolling flavours that unfolded into a climatic finish and after the initial flavours I got a slow drift into... Mmm, quite nice.

I don't regret buying this Whisky, it's easy drinking, well put together but not the show stopper I had hoped it might be. Worth trying as it is very different from most of the single malts out there.

I have never understood how anyone gets very excited by Hedonism. And I like lots of Compass Box products. And I like mellow, and I like subtle...with Hedonism, there's just no "there" there, understated to a fault, by my lights. It starts light, and then sort of...disappears...are you listening, @Nock?

Totally agreed - and sure wish I read all this before dropping $80+ on a bottle. Frankly, if I wanted a bourbon taste, I would have bought a bourbon... Yup, a good deal of marketing and this was a real disappointment since I was expecting something better than Spice Tree...

It just tastes like a sort of dull bourbon - albeit not totally unpleasant ( I do not especially care for bourbon... that does not help).


My first pure grain scotch. Halfway through this bottle.

Glass: Glencairn

Nose: Reminds of bourbon, sweet, vanilla, nail polish accent, candied, fresh and fruity.

Body: Light but with a finesse to it, a soothing spice, dilute syrup with a little creaminess to the mouthfeel. Smooth delivery.

Taste: Starts of like bourbon but far more refined and balanced, vanilla, sweet, medley of fruit, a mocha like note developes and then fresh ginger. Sugary then a iced tea like note.

Finish: Shortish medium but the sweetness persists as a lull. Gentle and warming. Very nuancey. Butter.

Not your typical scotch but very enjoyable neat. I don't see myself drinking this solely but I think everyone should have a bottle of this or similar handy to add some variety to the rotation. A more elegant style of scotch and should be ideal for the summer months.

@sengjc, thanks for your review.

Hedonism has a lot of fans, but I have never been one of them. The extreme "smoothness" of this whisky is for me much akin to having no flavour. A bit parallel to Johnnie Walker Blue Label, except that I'd rather be drinking Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The quality of the flavours? OK, but not something to "oooh and aaaahh" over, and you almost need a microscope to detect them. It's expensive too. This is not a bottle I would ever buy.


It is a light whisky with a mild profile, interesting but quite easily forgettable. I haven't had any since that bottle was finished more than two years ago.


A long day, especially for a weekend day, with the power turned off while I attempt to get some weekend chores down has left me tired and feeling just a little bit irritable.

In order to brighten up my mood I decided to crack open another sample from my Christmas present from my wife, an advent calender of whisky samples from Master of Malt.

24 different whiskies covering various styles, ages, countries, it's been an awesome present so far.

Tonight I decided to go with a first, my first grain whisky!

Compass Box Hedonism.

Now from everything I understand this is a blend of grain whiskies from different distilleries, covering a range of years.

Cameron Bridge, Carsebridge, Cambus aged from 12 to 29 years in first fill ex bourbon casks.

Now for quite a while now I'd heard from many whisky people, not all, but many, that grain whiskies were bad, bitter, not pleasant, cheap filler used in scotch blends such as Chivas and Johnnie Walker, something that no true whisky lover would willingly drink.

However I tend to ignore those kinds of comments unless I've had experiences to back them up so when I saw a sample of Compass Box in my calender I had a giant grin erupt on my face.

When I crack the sample glass and pour it into my glencairn the very first thing I notice is the pale pale yellow that it pours.

The second thing that immediately hits me is the aroma.

You can definitely tell the bourbon cask influence on the whisky, aromas of vanilla and coconut, oak and cinnamon come wafting out of the glass and across the room as I sit here watching the new Masterchef Professional Australia series with my wife.

The vanilla and coconut are so strong that my wife can smell it from across the room as she sits next to me.

A closer nose pulls up some nutmeg, red pepper, hints of citrus and mint beneath it all.

It's a lovely STRONG little nose.

Time for a taste though!

Vanilla, pure and simple is the first thing to hit the palate, feels a little dusty, a tiny bit of chemical flavor, almost like paint thinner, bitter oak, a little metallic, then spicy, a little minty.

Not quite sure what to think of the palate, at times I like it, at times I really dislike it.

The finish starts off bitter with oak and chocolate then goes sweet with cherries, and vanilla.

Interesting whisky, and I'm still not quite sure what I think of it. Part of me enjoyed it, part of me really disliked it. I don't know that I'd bought of it, but I'd be quite happy to try another sample or taste of it. It really seems like a whisky that you'd love or hate, but I'm left feeling odd.

Yes odd is the word to describe me right now, undecided.

I've yet to see this bottle for sell in Australia, except for one shop in Perth and they were selling it for along the lines of $130 to $140 AUS, which at least on this taste, I wouldn't pay for a bottle of this. However if I were to see a bottle of this in a bar I'd happily buy a dram to try it out once more!

Grab a bottle of this if you're looking for something a little different and don't mind shelling out a bit of cash, however if you're watching your whisky money closely, I'd keep looking.


The truth is I tasted this one a long time ago, even a year or more ago with a bunch of other CB’s and for some odd reason did not post my notes. Gladly I received another wee sample of this lovely dram for last month’s Compass Box twitter tasting, and this time around got to write my notes again. Compass box blends this Grain whisky twice a year and source whiskies Will vary according to batch but typically whiskies from the following distilleries: Cameron Bridge, Carsebridge, Cambus, Port Dundas or Dumbarton. Now, a Grain whisky can be a beautiful thing, as this one here.

Nose : Sweet entry, with quite a bit of Coconut and oodles of vanilla, some spicy stuff as in mint, and some pine too. very nice Grain goodness on this one.

Palate: Sharp entry with quite some alcohol bite, acetone, then it gets mellow with sweet sugars, bitter wood, vanilla, white chocolate and minty hints too.

Finish : Bitter, sweet, with vanilla and coconut.

A very nice dram,and great blending shown. If you like your grain whiske, or want to try a really great example, then you should give this some attention. As always, compass box delivers quality whisky.


Color: pale yellow, like chamomile tea.

Nose: Really opens up after breathing for a few minutes. Citrus, toffee, rich lemon cream pie, anise, coriander, and sweet, buttery baked goods.

Palate: Rich and viscous. Has a little grip to it, and a slight bitterness. Toffee, spice, baked goods, pecan pie.

Finish: Fairly long. This is really a lot of fun. Sweet toffee blends with typical grain bitterness, along with buttery baked goods.


Compass Box Hedonism is a blend of grain whiskies from Cameron Bridge, Carsebridge, and Cambus. The youngest of these is 14 years and the eldest is 29.

The nose has an immediate sweetness reminiscent of some Canadian and American whiskies—notes of toffee, pancakes, butterscotch, and brown butter—but it is more restrained on this front. The sweetness is balanced by notes of tart apple and tropical fruits—especially pineapple—and menthol. It is a touch dusty, with a slight alcoholic edge.

Like the nose, the palate begins sweetly, with toffee, honeycomb, and vanilla. It becomes increasingly mentholated as a slight bitterness on the finish allays any fears of things becoming too cloying.

Hedonism reminds me more of an Irish pot still whisky than a Canadian or American one as, given the age of the spirits in the blend, the wood influence seems nonetheless quite staid. It’s refined, composed, and majestically balanced.

You are quite generous - and I am quite tired of this excessively bourbon-y tasting whiskey...


Compass Box was the first to bring a blended grain to the market. This is a blend of Cameronbrigde (and maybe some Cambus as well?) grain whisky of different ages. So no single malts in this Hedonism. All components are between 12 and 29 years old and matured on first fill bourbon casks.

The nose delivers bourbony notes immediately. I am reminded of Buffalo Trace and Bernheim Original. Creamy and big vanilla with rhubarb, spiced with some red peppers.

It’s silky soft and creamy on the palate with ginger, but also malt and even a touch of coconut. The soft spices return. The delivery is wonderful, but then all of a sudden the whole somehow crumbles. It’s slightly mineral and metallic.

The creamy finish, mostly on ginger, is rather short.

It’s starts very promising on the palate, but fails to deliver, which is a shame. Hedonism is ‘limited’ to 2400 bottles and rather expensive (about 65 EUR), seeing that it’s a grain whisky. But it does show that whisky doesn’t need to be single malt to taste good. There is also a Hedonism Maximus (46% ABV, 175 EUR).

I actually liked this one...

You have to like bourbon to like this - much more bourbon-y than scotch-y. I sure wish I had read this first...:-(

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