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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Whisky de Table is a bit of a special one. It’s made to be drank cold, from the refrigerator. And to serve as a replacement for wine when dining. This is not at all how I’m used to drink my whisky, but to each his own.
The 2018 Whisky de Table is made of of mainly Clynelish, Benrinnes and Linkwood, all very young variants at that, being between 3-5 years old. It’s meant to be very spirit driven, removing a lot of the cask influence most whiskies have.
Colour: A very pale white wine.
Nose: The malt is quite apparent here. Some light touches of fruit. Stewed apple, citrus, peach and watermelon. A hint of nail polish remover and some sweet sugar. Not too bad at all!
Palate: A very thin, light arrival here, maybe a bit too much so. Some white fruits and pineapple, of and a little waxy note.
Finish: Quite a short finish with hints of barley, pistachio and an ever so slight green pepper.
Hard to score this, as this isn’t what I usually have in my glass. Still, it’s quite nice at what it does and it’s fun to drink something so young, yet decently rounded.
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!