Everyone loves a good story. None more so than me when it comes to whisky. And Compass Box seem to have a ton in store. Given the lopsided state of the whisky industry where stories (read marketing gimmicks) trump whisky quality it is natural to be a bit weary of enticing tales.
But when the spirit inside the bottle just happens to be a cut above so many of the others then a good story makes it that much more special.
Which is precisely the case with this gorgeous and extremely unique blend.
Compass Box, in my opinion, are possibly the finest independent bottlers of blended whisky today. From the Spice Tree to The Flaming Heart and now to this beautifully crafted gem there is seldom an instance when they are sub-par at their craft.
One day a strange thing happened at the Compass Box offices. A cask turned up claiming to be around 33 years of age which included spirit that had already been blended and left to mature. Now this is a strange thing to have in ones' possession.
However, what is stranger still is that another cask was brought into their possession which also happened to have blended spirit in it and this one had been maturing for over 40 years.
The delightful mystery is that no one really knows what kind of whiskies were in both casks or even what sort of casks they were. So Compass Box did what they do best. They experimented.
They felt the only way this could work was if both the spirits were blended to make one whisky. And so after many tries at the correct ratios they finally arrived at The General which is named after the 1926 Buster Keaton movie where he takes an old steam locomotive (The General) on a wild ride to find the love of his life.
One of 1678 bottles and bottled at 53.4% this is one of the finest blends you can try.
Nose: Equally strong sherry as well as bourbon. Very dry. Lots of oak. A lovely weathered oak at that. Warm chocolate oranges. Clove. Nutmeg. Cinnamon. Wood varnish. Sweet brown sugar. Sandalwood. Maple syrup. Dry autumn leaves and the faintest of peat. A lovely and strong nose.
Palate: Cinnamon. Dark honey. Maple syrup. Chocolate. Apple stew. Hints of cumin. And that beautifully textured wood. So mature and held together with amazing poise.
Finish: Long. Oloroso sherry. Cinnamon. And the mature oak is back.
This is a lovely whisky which seems to have worked as a result of creative blending. And every time I try a different Compass Box release I fall in love with their style a little more.