I love Speyside flavors and I love Compass box. So this malt blend really is a thing of beauty for me.
NOSE: right after opening the bottle and pouring a dram, the nose reveals a touch of citrus peel (orange, mandarin), cinnamon, ginger; dry oak; brewed black tea. With water it tones down the spice a little bit and reveals more of those wonderful vanilla cream, chocolate notes. One spiced Christmas cake on the nose - love it!
TASTE: sweet, very rich, spicy, a touch of salt; black pepper, honey. Vanilla and ginger are also here. It can take a lot of water without losing flavor which is really impressive. With water you get more of smooth cake-like notes with vanilla spiciness and caramel.
FINISH: long, warming, incredibly satisfying. Hints of pepper and toffee.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: WOW! One really well-balanced, flavorful, moreish whisky. Stunning. If you like speyside flavors like I do, my bet is you'll love the Spice tree!
@Georgy, most of the current Clynelish is unadorned by sherry or peat (little or none). The now defunct Brora was the sister distillery to Clynelish which specialised in peated expressions. The old Clynelishes distilled pre-1980 were often fabulous. The current stuff, less so, though many still like it. I think most people who like Clynelish now would recommend some of the Independent Bottlings over the Distillery Bottled 14 yo. Another Compass Box highlighting Clynelish is the Asyla Blended Scotch. John Glaser himself has repeatedly called that his Desert Island Dram among his creations. He turned his focus away from blended malt several years ago and toward blended Scotch. You might be able to find a sherried Clynelish, but that is not the norm.
Also Compass Box Oak Cross is just the same distillate blend as Spice Tree, only matured in different oak.
@ Georgy I really like the sweet, rich single malts like the Glendronach 15 you mention, and Aberlour A'Bunadh--both Highlanders, like the Clynelish Victor mentioned, but I also love Benromach speyside. Your description sounds right up my alley. I will admit, at first I was a bit snobbish about this being a blend, but thinking about it, I've decided that good whisky is good whisky and if it's popular on this board (and gets Ralfy's stamp of approval), well, I just gotta try it.
I'm also thinking of getting a bottle of Great King Stree Artist's Blend, also shown on the shop website...this may be an expensive trip!