Compass Box Phenomenology | 46% ABV | Bottled 2017

Phenomenology is “the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness.” It’s also a Compass Box blend, so let’s focus on what I do understand. The Phenomenology uses quite an interesting recipe. It’s mostly Glenlossie and Tamdhu, but there’s a teeny tiny bit of Highland Park, Talisker and Caol Ila added, to give it that extra oomph I suppose.

Colour: Light gold.

Nose: Very nice. Lemons and freshly cut grass but also tropical fruits like mango and coconut. Underneath this all is the slightest suggestion of earthy peat. A very nice, and perhaps more importantly, coherent nose.

Palate: A very oily mouthfeel which is lovely. Lemons and apple cider, honey and beeswax. Not in a boring way mind you, it’s all running through each other eloquently.

Finish: A medium long finish, mainly the (green) apples and lemons remain.

Simply a good, sturdy blend with an interesting recipe.

88/100

Compass Box Enlightenment | 46% ABV | Bottled 2016

Compass Box has had a number of issues with the SWA. One of the latest was that Compass Box started disclosing the components that went into it’s blends, including the age. According to the SWA, only the youngest component’s age can be advertised, not the others.

Compass Box changed it’s approach and now tell you the age when you send them a mail. Also, they created this blend. The Enlightenment.

Colour: White wine.

Nose: Starts off quite malty with some shy fruity notes, but they don’t stay shy for long. A nice strong nose with white fruits, peaches, pears. Vanilla and honey and chamomile. Oh, and of course there’s beeswax.

Palate: Fruits once again, mainly melons (honeydews in particular). With undertones of white grapes, wax, vanilla and honey. It’s all intermingled nicely.

Finish: A bit of a shorter finish. Almonds and sawdust mainly.

Good stuff. If Compass Box keeps bringing blends like this, I hope they get in trouble with the SWA again!

87/100

Compass Box Delilah’s 25th Anniversary | 46% ABV | Bottled 2018

Another Compass Box, another collaboration. This time it’s with the Chicago punk & rockbar Delilah’s. It consists of a parcel of “Delilah’s 20th anniversary parcel”, 10% grain whisky and some other malts. Quite a large percentage has matured in ex-sherry casks, interesting!

Colour: Gold.

Nose: There’s quite a bit going on here. At first there’s spices: ginger, nutmeg, some cinnamon. Then there’s green apple and a lovely caramel note. Some slight sherry fruit tones, furniture cleaner and is that bayleaf?

Palate: It starts off with the spices once again, mainly nutmeg. Then some hints of those sherry fruits in the form of cherries and milk chocolate.

Finish: Medium long finish. The milk chocolate turns to dark chocolate, some coffee and roasted pinenuts.

Very nice, layered, complex whisky. I’m missing a bit of a “hook” though.

85/100

Compass Box Affinity | 46% ABV | Bottled 2019

As we all know, Compass Box quite likes to experiment with their products. Sometimes with great succes, sometimes less so. For the Affinity, they decided to blend whisky with calvados. They cite similarities between the products such as double distillation and French oak casks as one of the reasons.

If you want some more specifics, you can find these on the Compass Box site.

Colour: Vibrant gold.

Nose: Red apples, apple juice, apple sauce, so all things apple. Sugared candy too, think a candied apple! Some orange juice notes, which integrate surprisingly well and a slight honey note.

Palate: Quite a harsh hit at first, peppery and tangy. Then the sweetness of the apples arrives, along with some chalk.

Finish: Apple cider, lemons, a medium to long finish.

Interesting experiment, the calvados and whisky are nicely balanced, but I get the feeling we are dealing with quite a young product.

78/100

Compass Box Double Single | 46% ABV | Bottled 2017

Where Compass Box is known for their weird, wonderful and whacky blends, this is one of the more simple, straightforward blends in their portfolio. The Double Single consists of a single malt, Glen Elgin, and a single grain, Girvan. That’s all there is to it, so let’s get nosing!

Colour: Gold

Nose: A very creamy nose here, quite a bit of fruits too. I’m getting mainly green apple and pear. Soft vanilla, honey, toffee and some nice crème brûlée. There’s also a popcorn note, I’m guessing that’s the Girvan influence.

Palate: A strong arrival which is quite peppery, and unexpected. Then kiwi’s and apple. Some sugared cereal (Frosties). Quite a simple one actually.

Finish: Creamy butter again, a bit of lemons and a mandarin tangy note. Medium long.

It’s not a bad whisky by any means, although the nose is more interesting than the palate. I’d probably rather get a single cask Glen Elgin 22-23y for that price though.

84/100

Compass Box LMDW Artist #7 | 55% ABV | Bottled 2017

This creation by Compass Box for La Maison Du Whisky was to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Velier. It’s quite a simple blend with 60% of it’s contents coming from Talisker, joined by some Highland Malt blend, Glentauchers and Invergordon.

Colour: Straw.

Nose: Very sweet peat, with notes of honey and vanilla. They wouldn’t have set a beehive on fire, would they? Some grassy notes too as well as menthol. Then we get a sudden truckload of figs and green apple. A very enjoyable, balanced nose here.

Palate: Ultraclean smoke, just when it reaches the height of it’s intensity, the beeswax takes over. Asparagus and other vegetal notes join the fray. The lemons come in last.

Finish: A citrusy smoke that just lingers. A wonderful end to this.

Lovely stuff, and to say I usually don’t like Talisker all that much!

88/100

Compass Box Juveniles | 46% ABV | Bottled 2018

Compass Box really likes to do collaborations it seems, this one is with the Parisian Juveniles Bar à Vins. They regularly do a collab and this is the latest outturn. Apparently they wanted something around 15 years of age.

It’s composed of mainly Strathmill, Balmenach, Clynelish and a bit of Glendullan.

Colour: White wine.

Nose: A very fruity one here! Loads of pears, honey and vanilla, oh, and beeswax. I also seem to be getting some parsley. It’s actually reminding me of toast champignon with parsley on top, that’s a weird correlation. I don’t mind though!

Palate: A very soft and gentle arrival. Beeswax and soft honey, then the pears start to seep in. Very juicy mouthfeel but maybe a tad too tame.

Finish: Some oaky touches but the sweetness of the pear remains, medium long.

It’s sweet, juicy and inoffensive. A nice summer drink but perhaps a bit too pricey.

82/100

Compass Box Transistor | 43% ABV | Bottled 2019

The Compass Box Transistor is made in partnership with the Scottish Brewdog company, who brew beer. It’s marketed to drink as a “Boilermaker”, drinking a shot of whisky and chasing it with beer. Not really me preferred way of drinking whisky but ok…

It’s mainly made up of Clynelish (who’d have thunk?), Linkwood and Cameronbridge. Let’s see how this does as a sipping whisky.

Colour: Straw

Nose: It’s a very closed nose. When you go hunting for specifics, you find traces of coconut, pineapple and lemons. Some cloves as well as a green herb…oregano? After some time I’m getting unripe banana and some cereal. You really have to go hunting for all these notes though, altogether it’s quite dull.

Palate: Quite a bit of spice. Cinnamon, nutmeg and oak. Some pomegranate in there as well as grapefruit and walnuts.

Finish: The grapefruit lingers somewhat in a medium-long finish, together with the oak and a hint of milk chocolate. I’m getting some traces of hops too, but there’s no beer to be seen.

It’s a strange one, this Transistor. It’s quite unfocussed yet still manages to be, dare I say, boring. Perhaps this does better when consumed without too much thought.

79/100

Compass Box Great King St. Experimental Batch TR-06 | 43% ABV | Bottled 2013

I’m quite late with this review, as it’s not that easy to come by a bottle of this. Still, it fits in nicely with the rest of the Compass Box expressions I’m doing. The Experimental Batch series was created by Compass Box so the public could choose which version they wanted in the permanent lineup.

The second option was batch 00-V4 (fancy name!) which was more sherry influenced, as opposed to this one which is peated. If I’m not mistaken, 00-V4 has continued life as the Great King St. Glasgow Blend.

Colour: White wine

Nose: The smoke is very clean and crisp. It also leaves enough space for other notes to come through. I’m getting quite a bit of citrus and Granny Smith apples. Also olives and olive oil, nice! Some honey and a slight flowery note as well. Quite a promising nose.

Palate: The smoke kicks in first, again in a quite crisp way. It makes room for some slight sherry notes, mainly blood orange. There’s also pear, some warming spices and a hint of those flowers. I think the Highland Malt Blend comes through nicely here. After that, the smoke returns for a second wave.

Finish: Some dough here, along with the smoke of course. It’s medium long and otherwise quite uneventful.

A very nice blend, making the most of the quite young ingredients. A shame they don’t make this anymore, as the balance is quite excellent.

86/100

Compass Box Orangerie | 40% ABV | Bottled ±2015

Compass Box wouldn’t be Compass Box if they didn’t make some weird stuff. The Orangerie is not a whisky, as it consists of Glen Moray, Cameronbridge and an infusion of orange zest, cassia bark and cloves.

This was quite a hard review for me to write and film, as I come at this from a whisky enthousiasts point of view. Let’s see what it does.

Colour: Gold

Nose: Oranges, oranges, oranges. Some orangejuice that’s been left in the glass for just a tad too long, turning slightly sour. In the back, there’s a hint of those cloves and some soapiness. Oh, and there’s some orange notes in there too.

Palate: Well…it’s a nice continuation from the nose as the first thing we get are oranges. Secondly there’s oranges. The soapy note remains and the cloves have made room for a slight cinnamon note.

Finish: You’ve made it this far, you can probably guess what’s in the finish. (Spoiler: oranges) It’s quite a short one.

This is clearly not made for me. If you like something like Cointreau maybe you can give this a shot, or maybe a good mixologist can find a use for this.

65/100