Whisky Connosr
Shop Join

Compass Box The General

Five-Star General

0 895

@WhiskyBeeReview by @WhiskyBee

9th Apr 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

Show rating data charts

Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Until last week, I hadn’t tasted whisky in nearly three months, owing to the regimen of meds I was on following knee surgery. The greatest woman in the world (whom I happened to marry) decided to go overboard with this little gift to celebrate my return to active whisky duty. “Are you #@%&*?! kidding me?” was my response when she gave me this last weekend.

The missus and I are classic-movie buffs, and we watched Buster Keaton’s THE GENERAL (for which this whisky was named) the night before my surgery. Hence, her motivation for this gift, even if it was “about $250 more than I planned on spending,” she said. “So we’ll hitch rides to work and eat peanut-butter sandwiches for the next three months,” I replied.

This is far and away the most expensive whisky in my cabinet. Sheesh, I’ve seen Broras sell for less. I don’t know which was more overwhelming: the gift itself, or the first taste I had of it. This is seriously delicious stuff, rivaling Black Bull 30 yo for the best whisky I’ve ever tasted. (And they’re both blends. Go figure.)

The story behind this whisky is shrouded in mystery. According to the Whisky Israel website, “Two different companies approached Compass box with similar stories: they each had several casks of blended Scotch that had been blended at quite young ages, then not required and put back into cask and left to age. One parcel was 33 years-old and the other was also quite old, but CB won’t reveal the information because they fear they might violate one of the UK’s Scotch Whisky Regulations.” Seems like that rascal Mr. Glaser did what he could to slip under the radar for this limited (1678 bottles) release.

Review based on my third dram from a bottle opened three days ago. This is a bottle I want to last for some time, but it’s going to take some serious willpower to do so. It’s strong stuff that benefits with a splash of water, but don’t drown it.

Nose: Olfactory memories of my grandparent’s house. Sweet, musty, antique wood combined with the aroma of Grandma’s from-scratch cherry pie baking in the oven. I think Grandma let the pie burn slightly, and that’s meant as a compliment. It tempers the sweetness with a savory barbeque edge. A ten-minute rest opens up a sensory overload. Honey, maple syrup, spicy potpourri, mint, bananas, mixed nuts, cinnamon, and well-slept pillows. Some sherry casks entered into the mix somewhere along the line. It’s just…wow. I don’t have the superlatives to do justice to this nose.

Palate: Woody, fruity, buttery, and spicy. Slaps your tongue with a cinnamon-ginger sting at first before it settles down into something warm and richly sweet. There’s also a strong presence of what I can only describe as a savory, salty Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, cranberries—they’re all here) in delicately perfect balance with acidic Italian dressing. The layers of flavor just keep coming in waves. I could let this sit on my tongue longer than a Depression-era flagpole sitter.

Finish: I’d give this whisky another point or two if the finish were a bit longer, although it’s long enough to satisfy. I’m not really complaining—I don’t know if I could handle another 20 seconds of such nirvana anyway. Loads of oak, sherry, and mint. Ends with some smooth vanilla before a cinnamon kick leaves you longing for an encore. (Just take another sip. That’ll do the trick.)

My wife purchased this bottle from a newly opened Binny’s outlet. It was the only one they had in their glass case, and it appears they have only two bottles left among their 30 stores. I’d love to send samples of this to all Connosr members, but…sorry, I won’t be doing that. This one’s mine, mine, all mine I tell you!

But if you’re ever in the Chicago area, I’d be more than happy to let you have a few whiffs from my Glencairn.

Related Compass Box reviews


Nozinan commented

Enjoy your dramming! I have enough stuff to try to suppress some envy, but please allow me to enjoy your good fortune vicariously.

6 years ago 0

GotOak91 commented

That my friend is an excellent gift you've acquired!! Sounds like stellar stuff!!

6 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

Intriguing. Any ideas which whiskies were in the SM blend? Any time something is shrouded in mystery, the internet can become the leveler. Employees talk and disgruntled employees scream. Word can get out. Which is kinda fun for us to piece together. One late night of drinking and surfing on the part of somebody "in the know" can release the genie from the bottle, so to speak ;)

6 years ago 0

WhiskyBee commented

@rigmorole: Good question for which there seems to be no answer. I visited dozens of websites when doing research for this review, and I didn't find anyone who even speculated as to its contents. When you're dealing with whisky that was blended and barreled for at least 33 years (with the other parcel being even older, apparently), I don't know if it's possible to detect any "distillery profile" in the end result. I'd say there's some Speysiders in here. How's that for bold speculation? ;)

6 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

I just snagged a 33 year old Duncan & Taylor Glendronach Three Generations for $150. A good buy. As for The General, it's quite a mystery aside from the age, which is probably the youngest age in the bottle. It's likely there are older casks in there as well. I would say that bottles with mystery contents are really dependent upon the reputation of the bottler, which in the case of The General is sound. If we don't know which distilleries have contributed to a bottling then it's worth wondering how old it really is. I trust Glaser's reputation. I also have a bottle of 24 year old Burnside that is allegedly 24 year old Balvenie with one percent Glenlivet (?). I have yet to taste that bad boy. I plan on opening the bottle on my birthday.

6 years ago 0

softailman commented

I almost tried on the whisky Convention i Gothenburg. But really expensive even for being so old. Its sold here in sweden by Symposium independent bottler. So here is a link or by Compass box www.compassboxwhisky.com/thegeneral.php

6 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

Welcome back, @WhiskyBee ! A great review-- and malt-- for your re-entry, I think I can almost taste it...

6 years ago 0

MaltActivist commented

@WhiskyBee welcome back and hope you're feeling well. I'm so glad you decided to mark your return with The General. I had heard a lot about this whisky and so ended up picking two bottles for my self. After reading your review I'm glad I did.

Thanks for your wonderful insights!!

6 years ago 0

You must be signed-in to comment here

Sign in