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Compass Box This Is Not A Luxury Whisky

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Compass Box This Is Not A Luxury Whisky

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Compass Box This Is Not A Luxury Whisky

Ceci n'est pas une pipe, the famous artwork by Magritte, inspired John Glaser to go head-to-head with the trend of produces to market whisky more as a luxury good, status symbol and investment vehicle, instead of something to sip and enjoy. So he released this bottle… for 195 EUR. Not cheap, now is it? Having said that, this contains 19 years old Glen Ord, 30 years old Caol Ila and 40 years old grain whisky from both Girvan and Strathclyde. Allow me to point out that the Caol Ila is only 4% of the mix, while the Glen Ord is the packer with 80%. Again the SWA was put on the back foot when they saw Compass Box revealing the exact composition. But hey, at least you know what is in your glass, so what is not to like?

The nose holds the middle between leather, dried apricots, raisins and candied oranges on the one hand and is quite bourbonny on the other. The grain does not dominate, but offers rich banana, coconut and something buttery. Nice nose.

It is syrupy on the palate. Quite mout coating. Immediately I get a warm feeling of peppers, nutmeg and some peat, followed by deep dark notes of raisins and dried figes, marzipan and roasted hazelnuts. Bitter oranges, sweet malt and coconut milk. Lovely salty notes go hand in glove with the sweet caramel. Fine balance.

The finish is long with a bitter note and a salty uppercut at the death.

John Glaser shows again why he is called a whisky artist. But almost 200 EUR is a bit rich for my taste. I will have the Flaming Heart instead, which is equally good, but a lot more affordable. And there is a huge lie on the bottle. Or a misprint. This is a luxury whisky. Or would that be humor?


A while ago I went on a rant and began cussing out the SWA, and the whisky authorities of the world in general, over the whole Compass Box transparency uproar.

Basically Compass Box, after having truthfully divulged what went in this and the Flaming Heart 15th Anniversary, got told off by the SWA for revealing too much and were forced to take down the recipe. In retaliation myself, and other bloggers, went ahead and posted the exact recipe of both the blends on our sites in the biggest show of mutiny Scotland has ever seen.

Take that William Wallace.

It was, therefore, nice to finally sit down with the whisky that had my malted panties in a twist to see whether it was really worth my ire.

And it was.

Made up using two single malts and two grain whiskies this is proof of John Glasers' ability as a superb blender. He's used of 79% Glen Ord from a first-fill sherry butt, 10.1% Strathclyde grain whisky from re-fill American hogshead, 6.9% Girvan grain whisky also from re-fill American hogshead and finally 4% Caol Ila re-fill American hogshead.

The result is a huge flavorful whisky with a lot of punch. It's not up there with The General, mind you, but a fine blend nonetheless.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at a decent 53.1%

Sweet. Sherry. Oak. Sultanas. Touch of floral. Milk chocolate. Blood oranges. Toffee. Coconut. Hint of almonds. Evolves nicely as it sits. Brown sugar. Ripe bananas. Cocoa beans. Hint of tiramisu. And whisp of smoke. Nice big aromas. I like it. 22/25

Full bodied. Coffee. Oak. Leather. Smoke. Sherry. Cinnamon. Black peppercorns. Figs. Quite resinous. Tobacco leaf. Dash of peat. Dark chocolate. Coconut. Full body on this one. Coats the mouth nicely. Feels big. 22/25

Super long. Coffee. Oak. Bitter chocolate. Touch of salt. Quite beautiful. 23/25

Good, solid, hard working whisky with big flavors. Has its' minor flaws but makes for an enjoyable ride. Solid finish. I'd happily drink this again.


This is not a luxuary whisky. “This is not a luxuary whisky”


Or is it ?

This is the latest offering from independent whisky maker compass box. Compass box was started in 2000 by John Glaser, they have produced some stunning and controversial whisky blends so far. Will this one add to the list, rather unusually they have told us exactly what is in this blend..

19yo first fill sherry butt from glen ord. 40yo grain whisky from a refill American oak hogshead. 40yo grain whisky from a refill American oak hogshead. 30 yo caol ila from an American re fill hogshead..

It is a play on words.. So the question is .. Is it luxuary or not ? Let’s see..

Nose.. At first it punches you right on the chin.. Let it sit for a while. Once it opens up there is an array of scents, a rather lovely musky sweet scent develops wraped in subtle smokey notes, dates, raisins, figs and dark chocolate intermingle with soft vanilla toffee, coconut and burnt orange float softly over your senses..

Palate.. A creamy liquid fills your mouth with all sorts of delights, it has a luxurious feel to it. Spices roll over the tongue with a statement of arrival, eastern luxuries in the form of freshly dried fruits, citrus peel, and dark bitter chocolate entice your taste buds into action, then the sweetness comes trotting along, subtle toffee and honey notes, peanut brittle, and butterscotch all play around in a sublimely subtle smokey note..

Finish.. The after taste is rather lovely, it has this lingering soft smokey finish, which refuses to leave.

Thoughts.. Only one question to answer.. Is this a luxuary whisky or not ? … I know my answer, you should find out for yourself.. Enjoy.

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