I'm a sucker for Compass Box and their beautiful presentation and this one, with it's all-black mysterious outfit, replete with runes and a wax seal sold the inner romantic in me.
Nose: Huge whiff of smoke akin to if you decided to douse the campfire with water at the end of the night because you're a headcase and wouldn't be able to sleep at night if you didn't. Salty sea-breeze air, tarmac, seaweed, cereal, and hints of lemon/lime trying to poke through...maybe some vanilla.
Palate: Right off the bat the sweet medicinal notes hit you, band-aids, rubber, tarmac, bigtime liquorice, cacao, citrus notes along the lines of grapefruit, a touch nutty. Mouthfeel isn't big and chewy as would be expected but medium-bodied, velvety, and a bit oily.
Finish: Billowing smoke, leathery, peppery, very salty and huge liquorice in your face. It reminds me of a certain liquorice that a friend from Sweden sent to me about 10 years ago that I absolutely loved; salmiac liquorice. Coffee, band-aids, cloves...it just keeps going and going.
Upon my first dram of this whisky, I was completely enamored and had to go back to the store to grab another couple bottles because when it's gone, it's gone. I could sit back and savor a single dram of this for a good hour or two, picking apart all of the nuances. It's dirty and aggressive yet elegant and sophisticated. A paradoxical, beautiful blended whisky and at the top of the list of "Islay-themed" whiskies that I've had the pleasure of tasting.