The Peat Monster has gone through a number of different variations throughout it’s existence. The oldest version I’m able to find if a 2007 version. This is the 2017 version (mind you a new 2019 version is also available with different artwork) of their heavily peated blended malt.
This version is largely made up of Laphroaig, with added Ledaig, Caol Ila, Ardmore and a hint of the Highland Blend. You can find more info on the Compass Box site.
Colour: White wine.
Nose: It starts off quite medicinally. The Laphroaig influence really comes through. Then smoked meat starts to balance things out. Cured ham and smoked sausages. Green apple, lemon, fermented fruits and dunegrass close off the nose.
Palate: I get 3 distinct stages of flavour delivery. First there’s a big wave of salt which goes well into the finish. Out of that wave comes seafood in the form of mussels, oysters and langoustine. A slight apple note and lemons round it all out.
Finish: The salt continues and the phenolic notes from the nose return. A medium long finish that’s quite well integrated.
I like the complexity shown here by the all in all young whiskies that go into this blend. I believe the complexity is quite a bit higher than you would have if you drank one of it’s components separately.
The Story of the Spaniard is the latest addition to the Compass Box core range, filling the gap of sherry-matured whisky. This expression is an homage to the red wine and sherry produced in Spain, and the man who helped John Glaser discover them.
73% of this comes from ex-sherry or red wine casks, with the rest coming from ex-bourbon casks or their special Hybrid Casks. You can read the entire recipe on their website.
Nose: There’s quite a bit of stuff to dissect here. Lot’s of red fruits, mainly grapes accompanied by some vanilla custard. Almonds and pecan nuts, ginger and cinnamon. Some rhubarb in here too! Oh, and beeswax, which seems to be a returning guest with these Compass Box blends.
Palate: A velvety smooth arrival but then it kicks into a higher gear. Spices come first, coating the tongue. They quickly get balanced out by intense red fruits, walnuts and some oak.
Finish: A medium long finish with some floral notes, vanilla, spice and a pastry note I didn’t expect.
I like this, a lot. Especially for the price. The sherry influence is pronounced, as expected, but is not one-dimensional.
Continuing from The Spice Tree yesterday, this Oak Cross is quite similar in composition. Where The Spice Tree has around 75% of it’s contents coming from “Hybrid Casks”, the Oak Cross only has around 40%. The other 60% comes from first fill American Oak casks. The whiskies in here are also the same as The Spice Tree, with 60% coming from Clynelish, 20% from Dailuaine and 20% from Teaninich.
As is usual with Compass Box, you can find quite a bit of info on their website.
Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: A very healthy dose of vanilla here. Some banana, apple and white fruits hanging from pine trees. There’s also clearly some busy bees in here making wax (hello Clynelish!).
Palate: Oak, honey and vanilla. So pretty much the typical notes we expect from first fill American Oak. There’s also pears and reine-claude plums, oh and some apple sauce.
Finish: The oak comes through a bit more. Walnuts, almonds and pecans coated in honey. Medium long.
A very easy drinking whisky, I do think it’s better than the sum of it’s (I assume) young parts.
The Spice Tree has quite an interesting past as there are 2 distinctly different versions of this. The original Spice Tree was released in 2005 and was (partially) matured in casks with inner staves. The SWA didn’t like this as it was deemed “untraditional” and Compass Box was no longer allowed to sell this as whisky.
4 years later, in 2009, Compass Box re-launched The Spice Tree, this time using “Hybrid Casks”. These are American Oak casks with French Oak heads. They vary the toast on these as to create a balanced product. The Spice Tree consists of about 60% Clynelish, 20% Dailuaine and 20% Teaninich. As is usual for Compass Box, they have a full explanation of their blends on their website.
Nose: It’s…spicy! Cloves, ginger and nutmeg and a truckload of vanilla. Then some flowery notes to take the edge off. Some green apple and beeswax, hello Clynelish! There’s a mineral note too. It definitely delivers what was promised.
Palate: Quite a gentle arrival but then the spices come through. Ginger and green pepper. Mind you, not the burning pepper sensation caused by the alcohol in undermatured whisky. Honeyed vanilla too and orange zest.
Finish: Quite a surprising meaty note here, ham and lard. Compass Box does say the Dailuaine adds some meatiness though. The French Oak spices come through and the honey continues from the palate.
This pretty much does what it says it’ll do. Spices take front and center without overpowering the other flavours.
The Glengoyne 25 is currently the oldest in Glengoyne’s core range. It’s also quite a bit more expensive than the 21 year old.
Colour: Dark amber with a reddish hue
Nose: What a majestic nose this is. There’s oak and leather, allspice and cloves, dates and raisins, mint and eucalyptus, blood oranges and brown sugar. Everything intertwines so elegantly, yet the nose is still full bodied.
Palate: Red fruits at first, cherries and red berries. Freshly polished leather, ginger and nutmeg and some lovely dark chocolate. The 48% ABV is also on point, it gives it more body without being overpowering.
Finish: A long juicy finish with dates, oak and a slight tobacco note.
Not much to say on this, this is quite simply and excellent concoction. Try it out if you can!
Starting at the 21 year old, the Glengoyne expressions are 100% ex-sherry casks. Let’s see what this does to it.
Colour: Darker amber.
Nose: This one is a lot darker than all of the younger Glengoyne’s I’ve tried so far. Liquorice and leather, furniture polish, slighly sweaty, dung, hay, spices, after opening up, the fruity notes come through more.
Palate: Very soft arrival, earthy, oak, tannins, slight pepper, grassy, slight zest, once it had some time to open up, the red fruit notes come through, cherries on top.
Finish: Quite a bitter but long finish, oak, walnuts, pinenuts and sultana’s.
It needs some time to open up, but when you give it that, it’s a wonderful whisky.
Nose: Quite a heavy, dense nose. Dark red fruits and liquorice. Some leather notes, showing it’s age. Overripe pears and honey underneath it all, and some acetone. After some time, more vanilla seeps through.
Palate: Quite oaky and somewhat drying. Cherries, plums and dates, as you would expect from 18 years in sherry casks. Otherwise the oak is too strong and drowns out the more subtle notes.
Finish: The oak takes center stage here, some honey too. Medium long
You can smell and taste the age here, but the oak is a tad overpowering.
A more substantial offering in terms of alcohol, but probably less so in age.
Nose: Mint, brown sugar and freshly made pancakes. But also quite a stingy note, the high ABV is very pronounced here. Some orange zest. Hints of sweetness are quite shy. With water: it somewhat tames the alcohol. More musty notes and furniture polish.
Palate: Pepper at first. Some raisins, chocolate and berries too, again quite sharp. With water: some more malty notes, prunes and leather.
Finish: Medium to long finish with dark chocolate, pecans and espresso.
The high ABV and relatively active casks have trouble hiding the youthfulness of this whisky.
A Glengoyne that’s meant for travel retail, NAS, and that has been finished in Pedro-Ximénez casks. I must admit I’m not too excited by that, let’s have a closer look.
Nose: A very sweet nose, much more so than the other Glengoyne’s I’ve tried so far. Candy sweets and cough sirup. The typical apple, honey and vanilla is there too. I’m getting a green note too, broccoli! That’s new. Some strawberry as well.
Palate: Quite sweet once again with cherries leading the charge. Also some milk chocolate, parsley and liquorice.
Finish: A medium long finish here with poached pears and coffee
I liked this much more than anticipated. The whisky is quite young but the active PX-casks did enough to alleviate this.
Nose: Quite a closed nose at first, it needs some time to open up. Green apples and a strong vanilla note, seems standard in pretty much all the Glengoyne’s I’ve had so far. Some dates and raisins accompanied by hay and a malty note. The more time you give it, the more the fruity notes come out.
Palate: Nice and oily mouthfeel. Banana at first, which surprised me. Oranges and orange peel, oak and a hint of pepper, but at the same time it’s quite a soft experience on the palate. Some pencil shavings and almond powder too.
Finish: Walnuts balanced out by green apples and honey, medium long.
More complex than the 12y. Very nice balance on this one.