Compass Box The General Review

Compass Box The General019

53.4% abv

Score:  93/100


Now here’s a whisky that has generated a significant amount of buzz over the past few months.  Not to mention garnered pretty much universal acclaim in nearly every printed word I’ve seen so far. 

Reading these reviews and write-ups, without having been able to taste for myself,  has been a bigger tease than the proverbial virgin prom date scenario.  It’s no exaggeration to say this was probably my most anticipated dram of the last year or so.  I’ve been anxiously looking forward to this one since first hearing about it.  Not because blends generally turn my crank, mind you, but because I think nearly all of John Glaser’s work is rather exceptional. 

Glaser has a gift for sourcing great casks.  That in and of itself is a blessing in an industry rife with mediocrity in terms of available barrels hitting the market, but that’s only half the battle.  It’s what he does with the whiskies he does secure that is cause for amazement.  ‘The General’ is a release that very possibly eclipses all that came before it in the company’s already rather impressive portfolio.

‘The General’ is a blend of two other blends, each of which was married in relative youth and allowed to mellow for further decades.  If rumour holds true, one of these blends was at least 33 years old, while the other is probably somewhere into its forties.  I’m not sure what the component whiskies are that eventually ended up coming together under the name of ‘The General’, but man…what a fateful meeting.  These are like perfectly cast pieces of a puzzle that were always meant to be together as parts of a whole.

If Compass Box, a relatively small upstart of a company, can pull off a release like this, why can’t the big guns in the industry do the same?  Or better?  If only more whisky makers would approach blended whisky with the same reverence that Compass Box does, perhaps the style would be much less maligned today.  ‘The General’ is a pristine example of the true ‘blender’s art’ whisky.  This and ‘The Last Vatted Malt’ (yes, a blended malt, not a blend) are simply in a league of their own.   

Sadly, for the masses, there were only 1,698 bottles of this whisky produced.  If you didn’t get one early on, you’re not likely to find one.

Nose:  So much harmony here.  Creamy fruits, dusted in nutmeg.  A little bit of orange.  Smooth polished oak notes.  Toasted caramel or toffee.  Creme brulee.   Meringue.  Old fashioned candy shops.  Almost notes of syrup and eucalyptus.

Palate:  Oh, my god.  What a delivery.  Thick and oily.  Mouthcoating and mouthwatering.  Chewy and rich.  Deep toffee notes.  Marmalade.  Figs.  Coffee cake.  Some sort of spiced fruit and nut mix.  Luscious.  Long finish.  All brilliant notes ebbing on the finish.

Thoughts:  This is simply beyond good.  Tastes like more.  …And that’s what I’ll have next.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

1 thought on “Compass Box The General Review

  1. Tabarak Razvi

    Just posted my review an hour ago. Quite a sensational dram this and nice to see we scored it just a point apart. Love the mature oak that runs through every thing. Did you get a strong Oloroso influence towards the end? It was very strong for me.

    Awesome review as usual.


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