When Compass Box released No Name last October, there was a lot of buzz around it. It is the peatiest whisky ever from Compass Box with 75.5% of it hailing from Ardbeg. Take into account that the Ardbeg portion carries an unpublished but still obtainable (via email) age statement that wasn’t seen from indie Ardbegs in ages (although recently a few indie Ardbegs popped up with similar age) and you can see why people were enamored by it. And let’s not forget the sexy black presentation and the added wink in the form of the ‘No Name’ name.
So the large portion in this blended whisky, 75.5% comes from Ardbeg (from re-charred barrels,) 10.6% comes from Caol Ila (refill barrels), 13.4% from Clynelish (re-charred hogsheads) and measly 0.5% of Compass box Highland malt blend (which is 60% Clynelish and 20% of both Dailuaine and Teaninich) finished in Compass Box’s heavy toasted French Oak hybrid cask for 6 months.
15,000 bottles were produced, bottled at 48.9% without added color or chill filtering.
Compass Box No Name (48.9%, £98.00/€98,90)
Nose: Very clean peat, lemon and lime, lots of smoke and a bit of tar. Quite fatty with oil wax, fruitiness lead by pears, red apples and some peaches. Continue reading
I’ve realized that once again life and work consumes most of my time in the last few weeks, leaving almost no free time to work on the blog. But I think that going for a quick and down to earth review mode may help building the momentum again.
Let’s get festive with the latest Douglas Laing Christmas Edition of Big Peat. This series has been going for a few years already and always provided a good value.
Big Peat Christmas 2017 (54.1%, £53.95/€52,95)
Nose: Young and malty. Then sweet peat with gentle smoke, honey, some Ardbeg fruitiness, pears. Getting smokier after a while with newly developed ashes note. Continue reading
A quick review for Sunday as you’re either slumbering as part of your weekend rituals or you’re swamped with work after getting back to work. Either way, here’s something real nice to end/start the week – a review of Rock Oyster 18 Year Old.
Rock Oyster 18 is a limited edition in the Islands blended malts series from Douglas Laing. It was released along with Timorous Beastie 18 (reviewed here) and it contains whiskies from Arran, Orkney, Jura and Islay. As usual it’s non chill-filtered and without colouring.
Rock Oyster 18 Year Old (46.8%, £72.50/€76,99)
Nose: Soft, starting with salt, meat, seaweed, honey and then then peat and bonfire smoke, a bit of tar, very maritime! Continue reading
Today’s review is the forth and latest release under the ‘Timorous Beastie’ label from Douglas Laing, the Timorous Beastie 18 Year Old that was released last May. We’ll review this today and next week we’ll check out both the 21 year old and the 40 year old that were released last year.
Timorous Beastie is Douglas Laing label for highlands blended malt. In this case, It’s a vatting of whiskies from Blair Athol, Dalmore, Glengoyne and Glen Garioch. A quite large batch of 7258 bottles was produced with a bit of an uneven pricing where it’s noticeably cheaper in mainland Europe than in UK. As usual with Douglas Laing, it’s non chill-filtered and without colouring.
Timorous Beastie 18 Year Old (46.8%, £74.50/€67,90)
Nose: Malty, damp wood shows up at first but is waved away later on, honey, pie dough and frankly, it’s quite bready. White pepper, subdued creamy fruitiness and apples and it developed a mineral edge after a few minutes Continue reading
A bit late but better now than never, here’s my review on Compass Box Spice Tree Extravangaza that was released a while ago.
This is a special edition to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Compass Box’s regular Spice Tree. In short, they use the same concept but used older whisky and with added sherry cask influence. As you can see from the ingredients list below, it’s 60% Clynelish, 20% Dailuaine and 20% Teaninch. If you want to know how old is each whisky, just go to the official page here and press the “Request Recipe” button, but I will tell you this is not a young whisky.
Compass Box Spice Tree Extravaganza (46%, £92.45/€114,95/$89.99)
Nose: Balanced but also spicy with vanilla topping. Then freshness, fragrance and rich body, getting sweeter, some dryness and wine tannins, dried berries, somewhat dusty. After a while sweeter and stronger red fruity notes, a dash of dried orange peels. Lovely nose! Continue reading
Douglas Laing, the Independent bottlers, has been building upon their regional malts brand success in the last year. First there were the 5 regional malts, Big Peat, Scallywag, Timorous Beastie, Rock Oyster and The Epicurean along with three Cask Strength variants: Big Peat X-mas, Scallywag CS and Rock Oyster CS. But in the last year, we’ve seen a wave of limited editions with age statements. It started with Timorous Beastie 21 & 40 (note to self: post the review already!) and then came Scallywag 13 Year Old which is the subject of today’s review. There is also a duo of 18 Year Old that were now released, Timorous Beastie 18 (Yes, another one in the series) and Rock Oyster 18 which I hope to review in the not too far future.
The Scallywag theme is Sherried Speyside, based on Glenrothes, Macallan and Mortlach. I liked the basic Scallywag and the Cask Strength edition, so will the 13 yo stay true to the tradition?
Douglas Laing Scallywag 13 Year Old (46%, £53.95/€69,99)
Nose: Velvety sweet lightly dried fruit, sultanas, strong vanilla and a malt porridge so must be some American oak in there. Slowly a rich and deep milk chocolate note shows up coupled with nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon. Continue reading
Last week I posted my Whisky Of the Year 2016 review (Kilkerran 12) but I think that 2016 deserves a little more. While not a full year review or recap, here are a few points on 2016 whisky market:
- 2016 was not the year that the whisky bubble burst. In fact, I’m not so sure we’re close to this point as I thought a year ago.
- World (AKA non Scotch) whisky is rising steady, headed by the Irish whisky boom.
- Volatile Markets has somewhat stabilized (Surprise!), providing boost to the earnings of Scotch industry.
- Transparency movement gained a lot of momentum but lost most of it to the Brexit surprise.
- The Younger and Pricier whisky movement gained a strong traction especially with the indie bottlers (and now we see 3 year old single casks bottlings from independent bottlers in 2017)
- Prices are still on the rise, especially for high-end whiskies and indie bottlers from popular distilleries such as Laphroaig, Springbank, etc.
- We see more premium/high-end whisky releases with price tags that keeps them outside the reach of regular whisky connoisseurs
- Because Single Malt is so expensive, the Single grain releases are getting more popular (and pricier).
The whisky reviewed here today is Compass Box Three Year Old Deluxe and I choose it because I think it’s the epitome of the current whisky market state. Don’t you believe me, follow this logic:
- Compass box is spearheading the transparency movement (along with Bruichladdich). It did hit a snag with Brexit but still they went ahead with a brilliant move: they interpreted SWA rules as “we can’t publish whisky age but you can ask privately” and so they implemented a mechanism where you can ask for the whisky age info via a simple form and you get back an email with all the details within a few seconds. All automated of course! Try it for you self: go to the Three Year Old Deluxe page here http://www.compassboxwhisky.com/whiskies/index.php?id=19 and press the “Request Age Info” link, fill in your email and voila!
- Now that you know the ages of the different whiskies composing this blend (if you don’t know, go back to #1 and follow the instruction there!) and understand this whisky is Compass Box way of doing the finger at SWA, you’ll notice it covers the Younger and Pricier movement (It’s a 3 year old officially after all) and the High price for older whiskies item as well (now that you know the age of each whisky in it).
But how’s the whisky? Is Mr Glaser magic working here?
Compass Box Three Year Old Deluxe (49.2%, 3,282 bottles, £185/€199.90)
Nose: Sweet and waxy at first and it’s not surprising with over 90% Clynelish in the mix. Some very gentle peat and smoke fly-by, honey, lots of vanilla. Funnily enough it doesn’t feel mature to its age (You did look up the components age by now, right?) A few minutes later, spices show up. Very talisker-y with pepper, also beeswax, dust and minerals. Green herbals, a touch of perfume and deeper sweet apples and pears. Continue reading
Better late than never but it’s about time I’ll check out the latest batch of Scallywag Cask Strength. I had the magical opportunity to be at Douglas Laing HQ when the original Scallyway was released and I loved it so lets check it out and see if this batch of the Cask Strength (4800 bottles) manages to keep up to the high standard of the original.
Douglas Laing Scallywag Cask Strength Batch #2 (54.1%, £45.98/€54,90)
Nose: Malty which isn’t surprising as I assume it will be young, and energetic (thanks to those extra %), strong sherry impact, dried berries, sultanas, white pepper, demerara sugar, vanilla pods are scatter through, quite lively and punchy. Continue reading
The new Compass Box Enlightenment whisky is another step in their campaign for Scotch Whisky transparency which follows the uproar that accompanied their previous releases.
In case you forgot, when Compass Box released Flaming Heart 5th edition and This is Not a Luxury Whisky in late 2015, they also included the full recipe for the whiskies including the whiskies ages. However, seems like it was breaking UK and EU regulations and therefor, following a request/pep-talk from SWA, the ages we removed from the website and the marketing materials and the new Soctch Whisky transparency campaign was launched with other distilleries backing it up (like Bruichladdich).
This is what John Glaser and Compass Box has to say on Enlightenment:
Inspired by the writers, philosophers and scientists of the A ge of
Enlightenment it sets out to encourage the industry to consider the
absurdity of a system that prevents producers from telling consumers
exactly what has gone into the whiskies they are drinking.
A worthy cause if you ask me! Yes, I’m an avid supporter of this campaign and totally for full information transparency. Here’s the ingredients list of the whisky, albeit without the ages (but I hope Mr. Glaser would tell you if you meet him):
So what do we have here? Clynelish making up the bulk of this whisky, 59% Highlands whisky and 41% Speyside whisky. As usual with Compass Box whiskies, it’s not chill-filtered and with natural colour and 5,922 bottles were made.
Compass Box Enlightenment (46%, £59.45/€64,95)
Nose: Strong waxy note at first (from the Clynelish), vanilla, some muted oak spices that smells like they stop the sweetness in its track, floral edge and then it’s mostly soft oak spices. After a while the sweetness is back along with some green bark. Continue reading