Sunday, 14 September 2014

Compass Box - Artisan Scotch Whiskymakers

For some time we have been on the lookout for the many expressions of the Compass Box range in order to explore what they have put together in their next production. Their labels with crazy good artwork can be spotted in many whisky shops, but sadly they do not always get the prominent spot they deserve. For many people it is an unknown "niche" blend-brand they would easily skip, and grab a bottle of their known favorite single malt, which is a shame, and no good reason not to check them out.
Lucky enough for us, in the Netherlands the availability is okay and every now and then we stumble upon a nice new expression, a miniature of something they no longer produce, or something one of our growing network of whisky friends have been kind enough to send us a sample of - all great ways for us whisky-nerds to get hold of that one rare tasting note we are still missing in our tasting notes Rolodex.

Having worked as International Marketing Director for Johnnie Walker for many years, in 2000 by John Glaser started Compass Box. The company sets it self apart as blender and independent bottler, with their main focus on creating a craftsman like product by buying individual casks, not using chill-filtering and keeping the product real by not colouring it. As they put it themselves: "Compass Box is a specialist Scotch whiskymaker. With us you will discover a world of small batch Scotch whiskies, made in a variety of styles to appeal to a variety of tastes."

Their whisky portfolio consists of several different ranges, where the Great King Street is their widely available blended whisky range with a high malt content, following closely guarded recipes that is explained in detail on their website.

The Signature range they make a variety of whiskies available that cover different parts of the Scotch whisky flavour types from light, fruity, delicate and elegant, to big, rich, smoky and peaty. Everything sourced from the best distilleries and matured in the best available oak casks [like they would say they use only rubbish]. These blended or vatted whiskies really are top of the bill [this is us talking again], and each and ever one deserves a place in anyone's all-time favourites chart.

Based on the philosophy of producing small-lot, single batch Scotch whiskies, the Limited Editions range is created from extraordinary casks. As the name suggests, the range is limited to a certain number of bottles per batch, which results in a large archive of whiskies that are sadly no longer available. We still managed to get hold of a few - recent and no longer available - expressions.

we left no survivors
All together, Compass Box is a whisky creator to our hearts. They are very open towards their recipes [where a multitude of malt seems to come from Clynelish, Teaninich and one of the southern Islay distilleries (Laphroaig?) and most of the used grains comes from Cameron Bridge in Fife], and they use a high grade of cask types to mature their products - they would rather discontinue an expression then doing any concessions.

None of the expressions we have tasted were below par, and we can imagine the expressions still to follow will follow the same high standards as we got used to by now.

Following the links below you can find out what our thoughts were on their expressions we got to try.
Thomas' notes - Ansgar's notes

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