When Compass Box launched this whisky, they decided to give it no name, so the whisky could speak for itself. A bit of marketing BS, no doubt, but it has to be said: the bottle looks great and mysterious. Compass Box is very transparent about the contents though: 75.5% Ardbeg, 10.6% Caol Ila, 13.4% Clynelish and the last half percent is their own Highland Blend (which is very similar to their Oak Cross, i.e. 60% Clynelish, 20% Dailuaine and 20% Teaninich).
The nose immediately and inexorably catapults me to Islay. The typical peat with some salty notes (se breeze) and medicinal notes greet me as soon as I put my nose in the glass. This is clearly Ardbeg, but with a sweet twist. Some banana, smoked ham with peppercorns, stock fish and vanilla. Great nose if you like peat. But it’s much more than just a peat bomb, which Ardbeg can often be. Dare I say it? That this is almost perfect?
Creamy on the palate, very clean peat, smoldering wood, brackish water, very smoky, smoked ham and smoke salmon. From the second sip on it becomes saltier and smokier still. The sweet elements of the nose barely have chance. And still it’s great.
The finish is wonderfully long, very salty and smoke and quite satisfying.
Beautiful packaging, great whisky, affordable price. What’s not to like? This is among the best John Glaser and his team have created.