Tag Archives: Compass Box

Compass Box The Circle Release No. 1

Compass Box are really geared up in 2019 as I counted 6 new global releases so far in 2019 and a few more are coming later year. We’ve managed to review most of them here and here’s the review on their latest release to date: The Circle No. 1.

The Circle is the result of a competition ran by Compass Box back in 2018 for bartenders and Rosey Mitchell, the winner of the competition was prized creating a blend along with John Glazer and Jill Boyd.

Rosey wanted to make an approachable whisky to be shared with friends, something for the daytime, a whisky with brightness. She called it “sunshine in a glass.”

And the way to ‘sunshine in a glass’ went through this recipe:

We usually don’t get to see a whisky so dominated by ex-bourbon Tamdhu so I was very keen to try this and see how this combo works out.

6,151 bottles were produced (at 46%) and as usual, no colorant or chill filtering we used.

Compass Box The Circle Release No. 1 (46%, £112/€123.95)

Nose: Toffee and honey, followed by sweet dried fruit and candle wax. Then subtle wood spice and peat smoke drifts in, cake dough, soursweet raspberry jam. After a few minutes more honey, white pepper and delicate greenery with dried peaches and pears. Then it gets herbal honey, cinnamon and ever so gentle waxy texture. Continue reading

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Compass Box No Name No. 2 Review

Yesterday we reviewed Compass Box Affinity, their Whisky and Calvados spirit and today we’re checking out their latest (and very peated) release: No Name No. 2,

No Name 1 was released late 2017 and it caught on like fire also because it contained a large portion of Ardbeg malt which we rarely see outside (expensive) single malts (at least back then). I reviewed No Name and didn’t like it much thinking it was a bit one dimensional and peat focused without depth. Seems like Compass Box somewhat agreed with this assessment (even though I’m sure they liked it), as we can see from their description on the second release:

Still very smoky indeed, there is a new depth and delicacy. To borrow a musical analogy, No Name was peat as power chord; No Name, No. 2 has brought some harmonics to the party.

This time, the ingredients are different with the majority coming from refill sherry casks from Caol Ila, along with malts coming from Talisker and Clynelish (and the usual CB blend):

No doubt this is an interesting recipe, full of potential. Let’s check it out.

Compass Box No Name No. 2 (48.9%, €123,95, 8802 bottles)

Nose: Peaty and sweet, beach bonfire, cherry orchard, a bit of wax underneath, sugar iclings, coastal. After a few minutes the nose develops dried red berries and chimney smoke. I can nose this for real long time.

Palate: Sweet and sugary, peat, smoke, dried berries and cherries, again a dry waxy note underneath, sprinkle of salt, sea breeze, peppery and coastal.

Finish: Medium long length, coastal, peat smoke, subtle red berries sweetness and dry waxiness.

Thoughts: This edition totally blows out the 1st edition. There are depth and complexity that were so sorely missed from the first edition. This edition provides a tasty combination of peat, slightly sherry impact, waxiness and coastal-ness. Recommended!

Compass Box Affinity Review

Officially it’s Springtime but here we’re having some heat waves and already deeply descended into summer time when drinks are considered. One notable new release I was curious about, thinking it may be a good summer drink is the recently released Compass Box Affinity spirit.

Yes, It’s not a whisky but a spirit because it’s a mix of whisky and Calvados. For those who didn’t encounter Calvados in the past, Calvados is a brandy made from apples (and pears) in Normandy region in France.

Here, look at the recipe:

That means we have 37.5% Calvados from Christian Drouin, a very respected and well known Calvados producer and 62.5% whisky .

Total of 6,028 bottles of this ‘Chimera’ were produced and bottled at 46% abv.

Compass Box Affinity (46%, £99.95/€102,90)

Nose: Initially doesn’t smell like whisky at all, it’s kinda spirity at times but then the Calvados notes chime in heavily with tons of apples, banana, honey and Calvados oak spice, with some gentle vanilla and honey. After a few minutes in the glass, the Calvados notes relax a bit (although it’s still very prominent) and we get some spices (with white pepper on the front). Continue reading

Compass Box ‘Stranger & Stranger’ Review

Yesterday it was Compass Box Juveniles day and today we review the other whisky released on the same day – Stranger & Stranger.

Just like Juveniles, ‘Stranger & Stranger’ is a whisky release with some external entity in mind and this time it’s the ‘Stranger & Stranger’ – the package design company that Compass Box has been working with for the last decade.

this blended spirit (spirit, not whisky and it’s no mistake) has a unique recipe, 99% is a classic scotch single malt and 1% is a very young malt/wheat spirit which didn’t hit the required 3 year old barrier to be called whisky:

4,802 bottles at 46% were produced and it’s interesting to see how the combination with the young spirit affects the liquid (if at all).

Compass Box ‘Stranger & Stranger’ (46%, £148.95/€169,90/$199.99)

Nose: Honey and wax, yellow plums and pears, very fruity with rich fruit juice. dusty (or perhaps powdery), very dense and intense for 46% whisky. After a short while even some tropical fruits, nutmeg, becoming orchard with added floral side to the fruitiness. Continue reading

Compass Box Juveniles Review

Just before 2018 closed down, Compass Box released to the markets (in time for x-mas of course) a set of two whiskies: ‘Juvenils’ and ‘Stranger & Stranger’.

Juveniles is a whisky released in collaboration with Juveniles Bistrot à Vins (residing in the 1st Arrondissement of Paris). Tim Johnston, the owner of Juveniles, asked Compass Box to create something:

“…bright, smooth, not smoky…an assemblage perhaps between 12 and 15 years old…”

Below you can see the recipe for Juveniles. While the components age are not exposed here (you can email Compass Box and ask them for the info!) you could say that the age average is indeed between 12 and 15 year old:

Total of 14,894 bottles were produced and as usual the whisky is non chill-filtered and comes at natural color.

Compass Box Juveniles (46%, £94.95/€104,90/$119.98)

Nose: Sweet honey, wax and vanilla, feels quite spirity – a bit surprising considering the malts age and composite but we should remember that age isn’t everything in whisky. Green peaches and pears, brioche with canned fruit. After a few minutes it gets dryer with oak spice but also getting notes of grass and meadow. Continue reading

Compass Box Flaming Heart 2018 (6th Edition) Review

Along with the new release of The Story of the Spaniard, Compass Box also released their 6th edition of Flaming heart, the follow up to the very successful and tasty 5th edition released back in 2015.

Compass Box Flaming Heart 6th edition recipe

Most of the major ingredients that were part of the great 5th edition, are in the 6th edition as well, albeit with different proportions and ages (want to know the ages? contact Compass Box and they will tell you!) and there’s a subtle sherry cask influence that was not presents in 2015 edition but in the 2012 edition.

15,050 standard bottles and 800 large magnums were made, all bottled at 48.9% and as usual are non chill filtered and with natural color.

So how this new 2018 recipe stands up to the 2015 edition?

Compass Box Flaming Heart 6th Edition (48.9%, £114/€129.95/$124.99)

Nose: A no-miss Caol Ila and Clynelish notes, soft, clear and crisp peat, gentle smoke, sweet wax, a dash of lemon, pears, malt, minerals. After a few minutes, subtle waxy red fruit sweetness. Continue reading

Compass Box The Story of the Spaniard Review

Last month Compass Box introduced a new permanent release in their core range called The Story of the Spaniard. In the official press release there’s a nice story about John Glaser and his experiences while traveling in south Spain and this is the result – a blended malt of Highland malt whiskies aged in Spanish Sherry and Spanish red wine casks and some ‘standard’ (by Compass Box standards at least) casks to balance it all. Here’s the recipe as officially published by Compass Box:

The Story of the Spaniard recipe

As you can see, in this initial batch (bottled June 2018), 48% of the whiskies have been aged in ex-Sherry casks and 25% in ex-Spanish red wine casks and a heavy dose from Deanston distillery and Compass Box unique Highland malt blend. If you want more details like exact distilleries and whiskies ages, just contact them and ask.

The Story of the Spaniard was bottled at 43%, but it wasn’t chill filtered and no caramel was added.

Compass Box The Story of the Spaniard (43%, £49.95/€44.95/$54.99)

Nose: Soft and rich, red wine tannins, malt pudding, strawberries and raspberries, soft spiciness with oak spice, white pepper and cinnamon. Honey cake and after a while a big coating of citrus peels. Continue reading