Compass Box Great King Street Artist’s Blend Review

Compass Box Great King Street Artist’s Blendbanner-artistsblend

43% abv

Score:  89/100


Here I go backpedaling again.  Hate to admit it, but it does happen from time to time.

I remember being slightly underwhelmed with this one on my first go at it.  Not sure why.  Must have been an off day or something.  To be honest with you, at the time I was somewhat confused as to why this was getting all of the accolades it was.  Perhaps I should have had a little more faith in what Mr. John Glaser does in his Compass Box kingdom.  And that…this first impression judgmentalism…is why we try to have multiple runs at a dram before forming an opinion or stating one for the record.  Finally…these many days later…I’ll go on record and say this is a really fine whisky.  Well put together.  Tasty as hell.

Now…quality of the drink itself aside, let me tell you why I love this whisky:

Compass Box has positioned itself as THE artisan blender.  The company’s alchemy borders on legend already, and no matter the medium – blended malt, blended grain, blended whisky – we’ve seen top notch whiskies reach first the shelves and then our glasses.  This artisanal approach has changed the face of the market to a fair degree, and while these whiskies have been released at rather affordable price points, it is here with the GKS, that Glaser is bringing his show to the great masses of the unwashed.  This is now the most affordable of the entire Compass Box range, but there is no dip in quality.  That, my friends, is not only quite incredible, but extremely admirable.

There are a lot of reasons why this whisky works as well as it does: higher malt content, older grain components, good wood policy, higher abv, no chill-filtration, no added colors, and on & on.  Attention to detail is everything, and as you can see, we’ve just ticked a lot of boxes that speak volumes about Glaser’s bent for quality and high standards.  I haven’t adored all of the CB releases (but most), but I can’t conceive of what it would take to make me swear off allegiance to this company.

Many thanks to Compass Box for upholding the standards that many of us hold dear.

Nose:  Light and fresh.  Very atypical of the homogeneity I normally associate with most younger blends.  This is lovely.  Floral and oaky notes.  Closer to a Lowland malt than blended whisky.  Some pepper and cucumber.  Vanilla and mildly fruity scented candle.  Dust…or maybe dirt floor.  A harmony of notes that remind of strolling through large vegetable gardens.  Great balance and composition.

Palate:  Again…not blend typical.  Dark vanilla notes into clean toothpick.  Gala apple flesh (sans the tang of apple skin).  Digestive cookies.  Touch of florals.  Easy drinker to be sure.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Compass Box

3 thoughts on “Compass Box Great King Street Artist’s Blend Review

  1. Robert

    I just opened this a few days ago, so good timing.. A musty floral nose with a bit of brine and citrus. Palate is a light summery whisky with a bit of orange peel, grapefruit and a hint of pepper and brine. Pleasant burn with a bit of spiciness in the finish. Pour yourself a dram neat, with water or ice and just enjoy, knowing this is not going to break the bank. I love what this guy is doing!

  2. Robert

    I recently picked up another special two-pack of 375’s, one of this and the other the Glasgow Blend version. It must be a holidays thing, as I think it was Jan/Feb I had first bought one. The Artist’s Blend is, again, quite good, but the Glasgow Blend, with its added bits of peated whisky, is even better. It’s somewhat similar to JW Black/Double Black, but higher quality and better tasting. This one really should be tasted neat, or at most, a slight bit of water. It’s still good with more water or ice, but the flavors are so good, especially the finish, that I prefer minimal dilution. The one problem for me is that I don’t really taste Laphroaig as the peated component, but rather something between Caol Ila and Ardbeg. Anyone else try this? I’d buy the 750 of this if our stores would stock it. Extremely drinkable!! (Typical Glaser!)


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