Category Archives: Compass Box

Compass Box Phenomenology Review

Compass Box Phenomenology

46% abv

Score:  88.5/100


Held to impossible standards, maybe.  Such is the esteem John Glaser has written himself into.  Even the least of the Compass Box releases stands head and shoulders taller than any comparable whiskies on the market.  Glaser has done amazing things for the world of blending, especially as it relates to the world of blended malts.

A visit to the Compass Box website tells us that “phenomenology is a school of thought in psychology that focuses on phenomena or the experiences we get from our senses.”  Okay.  Leave no stone unturned in your search for intelligent and intellectual marketing.  This has always been a forte of the company that has brought us the Lost Blend, Enlightenment and Hedonism.  Tie that to packaging that shames nearly everyone else in the industry (excepting maybe Ardbeg) and whiskies that consistently hit harmonious heights that others merely gawk at and it’s no wonder Compass Box is such an industry darling.

In keeping with their stance on transparency in whisky, the good folks at CB have kindly jotted down the recipe for Phenomenology for us (on their website, of course, because to do so directly on the bottle itself is obviously such an overt threat to the dinosaurs in the SWA that we need to find workarounds to share the info).  Quite a concoction, this.  One you’d never peg blind, I’d wager.  72% Glenlossie, 24% Tamdhu, 2% Highland Park, 1% Talisker and 0.5% Caol Ila.  The latter three contributors – making up just 3.5% of the cumulative volume – bring so little heft to the final product that smoke is nothing but a suggestion.  It wouldn’t surprise me if most folks thought that was nothing more than barrel char notes.  I did.

So what do we think?  Well…it’s great, of course.  I’d expect no less.  Unfortunately it’s also almost forgettable.  Beautifully constructed, but just not enough personality to differentiate itself.  It’s like the models that grace the pages of the fashion magazines in your local grocery.  They’re all lovely, but they’re also interchangeable, nameless and soon forgotten.

Nose:  Clean grains.  Soft fruits.  Pear and underripe pineapple.  Fruit flan.  Vanilla.  Heavy cream.  White chocolate.  Just a hint of eucalyptus.  Syrup-heavy fruit cocktail.  A whiff of smoke somewhere in the far reaches.

Palate:  Firm, oaky backbone.  Crunchy apple and pear.  A touch of pineapple again, caramelized.  Lychee fruit.  Oily vanilla.  Lemon.  Alcohol-soaked angel food cake.  Decent finish that fades mostly on fruit and a slightly woody note.

Thoughts:  Quite lovely, all in.  Just maybe lacking a little of that oomph we expect from Mr. Glaser.  Especially at the $220 mark.  Left me wanting more.  Happy to drink it, but doubt I’d buy it at this price.  Compass Box aficionados should be well-pleased, though, I’d think.


 – Image and words:  Curt

Compass Box Oak Cross Review

Compass Box Oak Cross107

43% abv

Score:  88.5/100


Let’s repeat the idiom we’ve trumpeted here since day one.  We love Compass Box.  We love John Glaser.  We love his maverick style and damn-the-torpedoes approach.  Most importantly though…we love his whiskies.

So many of the expressions he’s created over the years have really great stories behind them, built on evocative imagery, esoteric naming conventions and revolutionary displays of non-conformity.  These controversies have been well articulated through the whisky ‘media’, and have only served to make the SWA look stupid and outmoded.  The organization itself, and its adherence to tradition in most matters, only make sense when industry-vested interests are removed and a liberal dose of logic is applied.  Otherwise, every innovation is a perceived threat.  It’s this butting up against logic that has been the thorn in the side of someone like John Glaser, who is merely trying to stretch the canon, not overtly bend the rules.

The name of this vatted malt (again…I refuse to bow to the idiocy of the unnecessarily confusing SWA-enforced ‘blended malt’ nomenclature) is a reference to the juxtaposition of malts matured in both both American and French oak.  The whisky that results from this crossing of the more effusive American oak and the tighter-grained, refined French oak brings a profile that, while not necessarily instantly unique, is immediately charming.

Strip away all of the adornment of cask (and cask head) play, clever name, and snazzy packaging, however, and you’re apt to find a little bit of a surprise.  So often when we pull back the curtain, what we find is that we’ve been awed by nothing more substantial than so much smoke and mirrors.  In the case of Oak Cross (and Compass Box as a whole, really), behind that curtain we actually do find a real modern day wizard.  One who is making things happen as promised, and not simply talking the talk.  Glaser set out to make great whisky.  And once again, he has.

I read the company’s spec sheet on this one and started doing my own sleuthing to find out which distilleries from the regions disclosed therein were actually included in this three malt vatting, before finding a shortcut in simply Googling the answer.  As it turns out: Dailuaine, Clynelish and Teaninich.  An odd threesome, but a menage that certainly equates to more than just the sum of its parts.  The integrated whole here is spectacular, and the suggestion of this being a blending of any sort (even one comprised entirely of malts) seems almost preposterous.  Try it if you doubt me.

I should note…I have tasted this whisky many times over the years, and this is not the same dram I remember from earlier releases.  This is a malt that seems to get better as the years go on.

Oak Cross seems to fly under the radar a bit compared to some of the other Compass Box releases.  Not sure why.  I can only imagine that will change soon.

Nose:  Gawdayum!  Is this ever clean.  Orange and lemon zest.  Some polish.  Buckets of spice (mild cinnamon, clove and nutmeg).  Oily vanilla.  Apple and a hint of peach.  Pepper and just the faintest earthy peatiness (almost like good clean soil).  Spiced cake.  Salty home made play dough.  LOVE the balanced profile.

Palate:  More oak and vanilla notes here than the nose hinted at, but not overwhelming at all.  That pithy citrus zest again with some ginger and other spices.  Some clean, farmy barley flavours now.  A touch of peat.  A little drying.  Red apple skin.  It’s the Clynelish that really shows through the most here.  A few notes that remind of ’70s peated Glen Keith (Glenisla).

Thoughts:  Far too drinkable.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

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

Compass Box Hedonism Maximus Review

Compass Box Hedonism Maximusbarry's place pics 120

46% abv

Score:  91.5/100


The finest grain whisky I ever tasted was a stunning 45 year old Clan Denny Girvan from 1965.  It was enjoyed over a rather magical (read: drunken) evening out with Mark Connolly and the fine folk of the Glasgow Whisky Club.  The clean crispness and utterly pristine profile of that dram were a lesson learned in just how incredible very mature grain whisky can be.

In terms of all grain whiskies I’ve tried to date, Compass Box Hedonism Maximus is second only to that one particular Girvan.  Prestigious company to keep, in my humble opinion.

Long time ATW readers may recall my waxing poetical in an old Compass Box tasting event write-up about how I was quite taken with the first editions of Compass Box Hedonism.   If so, try to imagine the personal appeal of an uber-aged variant.  Maximus is built of 42 year old Invergordon distilled in 1965, and 29 year old Cameron Bridge distilled in 1979.  (I’ve read Carsebridge, as opposed to Cameron Bridge, in a few write-ups now, but that seems unfounded, especially in light of the CB website itself mentioning the two contributing distilleries).  Age has again worked her magic on this spirit, and such a lengthy slumber has done amazing things to this blend of grains. 

I concede it is highly possible many of you would score this higher than I do.  It’s important to recognize that this is not my favorite profile (being so close to a bourbon or a rye, as it is), so any score posted above will carry some bias.  At the end of the day though…it’s just a number.  Hopefully the words will help convey that this is an exceptionally composed whisky. 

Ok…one final note.  This review, like many here on ATW, is not exactly timely.  By that I mean that it’s not exactly timely from a marketing perspective (’cause that’s not the point of this website).  This whisky was limited to 1,500 bottles and by now is most likely but a distant memory for most retailers.  Having said that…please do recognize the relevance of discussion on this one, and let this be something of an overt endorsement of the Compass Box brand.  Their core releases are leaps and bounds ahead of so much of what is out there on the market, while their special releases (Maximum, The Last Vatted Malt, The General, etc) are utterly brilliant. 

Nose:  Such sweet vanilla and coconut.  I’d actually guess this was a bourbon, based on first nosing.  A lot of oak…a lot of spice.  Cinnamon and nutmeg over toasted marshmallow.  Distant hint of cherry lip balm…like the smell you cling to as she’s walking away.  A touch of orange, tangerine with white chocolate and faint smoke.  Frothy, creamy, buttery toffee foam.

Palate:  Waxy, spicy, oaky bourbon.  It’s not bourbon, of course, but that would be my first guess.  Very sweet, but incredibly well-composed.  Barfi (Indian sweets).  More spice…more oak.  Touch of rosewater.

Thoughts:  Another one of the high-end compass box releases that is unequivocally worth your hard-earned dollars.  I believe I’ve referred to CB mainman, John Glaser, as an alchemist at some point in the past.  Case in point. 


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Compass Box Peat Monster 10th Anniversary Review

Compass Box Peat Monster 10th Anniversary011

48.9% abv

Score:  90/100


In celebration of the ten year anniversary of their best selling whisky, Compass Box tweaked the recipe a tad and gave us loyal followers a little bit of a treat.  A limited edition (whatever that means in this day and age) of The Peat Monster dressed up in sexy Bosch meets Dali-esque artwork.  Love it.  Compass Box has always wowed with presentation, and this version of The Peat Monster is no exception.

The initial release of this expression was built on an amalgamation of Caol Ila and Ardmore.  Later on, Laphroaig was added to the mix.  And now…while I’m uncertain as to the continued inclusion of the latter two (I’ll assume the recipe is consistent), there is apparently an additional few casks of Clynelish.  Peated Clynelish at that.  Hmmmm…does that sound suspiciously like Brora to any of you?  Highly doubt that’s what it is but, man…what I wouldn’t give to taste those peated Clynelish casks anyway.

Having said all of this…The Peat Monster story has been told before, so let’s get on to the dram.

For the sake of compare/contrast I tasted this side-by-side with the standard edition of Peat Monster (albeit one from a couple years back).  The differences are subtle, but appreciable.  Let me add though…one could be worse served than to relax with two different variants of this dram in front of them, as I am this eve.  To quote the late, and especially great, Shannon Hoon: “Life ain’t so shitty”.

Nose:  All that you’d expect in terms of peat and smoke.  Initially I thought this was a little bit creamier than the regular edition, but as it develops the citrus comes forth and sharpens things up a bit.  Malty with some beautiful natural caramel notes.  Oily and briny.  Pepper.  Kippers and capers.  Aside from a little bit of lemon and orange there’s not a lot in the way of fruit here.  If anything…granny smith apple.

Palate:  Smoke and earthy peat.  Lemon, salt and melted vanilla ice cream.  Something kinda tart, tangy and zippy.  Not sure what that is exactly, but it works a treat in opening up every sensor on the tongue.  Pepper.  Tar.  Black candies…or almost (but not quite)salt licorice.  Yeah…this is a little creamier than the standard edition.  Knowing ahead of time that the mainIslay component in here is Caol Ila is entirely unnecessarily, as it’s nearly unmistakeable off the cuff.

Thoughts:  Different, but I can’t say better or worse than its predecessor.  No need to split hairs on marks then; let’s score it the same as the other.  Another great whisky from Glaser and co.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Compass Box The Last Vatted Malt Review

Compass Box The Last Vatted Malt024

53.7% abv

Score:  93/100


This is a special dram.  Momentous, really.  One of those whiskies that stands to define a place and time.  That moment (midnight of November 22nd, 2011) can be witnessed here, for those with a bent to history (however recent).

John Glaser’s ‘get in the ring’ approach to whisky making has led to a reputation as sort of the people’s champion of thumbing your nose at authority (or antiquated and self-serving authority anyway).  For this alone, the rebellious side of me will always hold him, and Compass Box, in high regard.  Now, couple that attitude with a damn fine run of whiskies and, well…

We’re fans of Compass Box. Let’s leave it at that.

In 2009, new legislation (‘The Scotch Whisky Regulations’) decreed, among other things, that the term ‘Vatted Malt’ was to be invalidated.  Enforcement of the new mandate was to go into effect as of the back end of 2011.  This semantic reformation, while of negligable impact to some, was monumental to Compass Box.

From the pen of Glaser:  “At midnight on November 22nd, 2011, an era ends.  After that point, it will be illegal for whiskymakers to use the term Vatted Malt to describe a Scotch whisky made from the combination of two or more single malts. From 23rd November 2011, this style of whisky will by law have to be labelled as a Blended Malt Scotch WhiskyVatted Malt is a term that has been in use since at least the 19th century.  It represents a style of whisky in which Compass Box specialise, so it has special meaning for us.  Therefore we have decided to take a lead in the education of whisky drinkers about the new legal definitions of the 5 styles of Scotch whisky. We feel that this is an important change to the law that needs to be explained to whisky lovers. As the new laws come into effect, we want to take this opportunity to educate, to look to the future and to help the industry as a whole.”

The Last Vatted Malt is Compass Box’s eloquently expressed response to this new approach.  A commemoration of the end of an era; a final ‘F U’ to the powers that be; and an acceptance of the challenge.  All of which would have been mere ceremony if Scotland’s last vatted malt wasn’t such a phenomenally executed piece of work.

I’ll go one further, and say that this is unquestionably John Glaser’s most impressive offering to date (at least as far as I have been able to taste).  It is a marriage of 36 year old Glenallachie (22% of the malt) and 26 year old Caol Ila (78% of the malt).  And, man…does this work a treat!  One of the most subtlely sublime older peated drams I’ve ever tasted.  A beautiful one-off I’d love to see repeated at some point (albeit under a different name, of course).

Nose:  Gorgeous and rich.  So mature.  So much balance.  So much class.  Smoke and smooth natural caramels.  Creamy sweetness and mildly spiced white bread dough.  Fruit salad in sugar syrup (think canned fruit cocktail).  Now some more mature dried fruit notes.  This is really an astounding nose.  The earthiness of peat has been softened to allow the smoke to show through.  Just the slightest bit of the typical Caol Ila briny citric edge.  Immaculate.

Palate:  Creamy…caramel-y…smoky…fruity…sexy…sassy.  Oh, man…I truly love this whisky.  Fruits in melted toffee.  The perfect harmony struck here between spice, smoke, wood and cereal.  Almost too easy a drinker, even at 53.7%.  I could happily curl up with this bottle and a great book until the wee hours.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Compass Box Flaming Heart Review

Compass Box Flaming Heart

Limited third edition.  4,186 bottles.  September 2010.

48.9% abv

Score:  89.5/100


I wrote up notes for this one a long time back, and either a) the whisky has substantially evolved, b) I was way off on the multiple occasions I tasted and took notes c) I’m now better/worse at what I do.  Either way…there’s not a lot of consistency between what I’m picking up now and what I got out of this one ‘back in the day’.

To be clear…these notes are for the 10th anniversary release of Flaming Heart.  While I’d like to get my hands on another one of this particular edition (sadly…I have none left now), this makes me want to dive into a more recent bottling to see what sort of evolution this one has gone through.

The Compass Box website says this one combines “Highland, Islay and Island single malts, aged in a combination of American and French oak casks, to create a smoky-sweet flavour profile like no other Scottish malt whisky.”  Yep…definitely smoky-sweet.  While I can’t say this one immediately jumps out from the pack as something astonishingly unique, I can say that it absolutely does exemplify high quality and a very profound and intimate understanding of the blender’s craft.  To clarify that statement…this is not a single malt whisky.  Rather, it is a blended malt.  However, I much prefer the old nomenclature of ‘vatted malt’, so in deference to John Glaser’s cheekiness, from here on out I’ll call it a vatted malt, SWA (ahem…primarily Diageo blokes, if rumour holds true…or at least being led by Diageo blokes) be damned.  (Anyway…for a little fun, spend some time reading up on the Compass Box Last Vatted Malt tale.  There’s even a wee video of the actual bottling of the LVM onYoutube.)

Pushing whisky politics aside for a bit (though if any whisky maker has dealt with more than its share of bureacracy it would have to be Compass Box), let’s check out the whisky itself.

Nose:  Just a touch of peach.  Some orange and a hint of pear.  Yes, there’s a bit of peat and smoke, but it’s very clean and crisp.  A slight peppery bite.  Slightly lemon biscuity.  I can still get the malted barley.  The smoke is well checked here.

Palate:  Big orange note.  A fair bit of vanilla.  Some perfume-y notes (very pleasant).  A whiff of smoke.  Nice grain/oak balance.  This is an incredibly smooth easy drinker.

I was off the mark last time.  Thankfully it was unscored notes I published, but wow…humbling.  Again…hats off to John and his team.  Another winner from Compass Box.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Pat Carroll

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

Compass Box Hedonism Review

Compass Box Hedonism

43% abv

Score:  89/100


What a nifty little whisky this is.  Compass Box’s “Hedonism” is a blend composed entirely of grain whiskies.  Light, snappy and full of character.  A relatively easy drinker that will have you sitting up and taking notice.  There is something very different here.

Think Scotch and the immediate connotation (in my wee mind anyway) is that deep malty, heavy and earthy profile we know and love.  Tackling grain whisky requires a suspension of those preconceptions.  You’re coming into something here that will be closer to a North American style whisky.  Don’t let this veering from the norm deter you.  There are some really good grain whiskies out there, even if they are quite few and far between.

Compass Box produces in rather small batches and works with what is available at the time.  They are also not averse to tweaking the recipe as whim and refinement dictate (case in point…latter editions of The Peat Monster).  I say this as a caution.  What I am tasting in the bottle shown above may be different from what you try (fortunately the packaging has also periodically changed, further helping differentiation) in your bottle.

First notes on the nose are big raw coconut and lovely fresh woods.  Hella cool and quite unique and defining.  Extreme sweet notes are tempered with some nut and vanilla.  Cream of Wheat, fresh scone and summer citrus.  Very pleasant on the nose.  Homey, but elegant and charming.  Very, very well-composed.

Clean cereal notes come across on delivery.  Some vanilla and sugary white chocolate (Easter candy-ish?).  Citrus again and a nice austere wood linger…with echoes of coconut.

“Hedonism” isn’t the best whisky I’ve ever tasted, but there really is something that makes me want to go back to it.  Very rewarding in its individuality, and masterfully built.  I’ll remember this one, and will be speaking of it to others.

As a final note I’d like to add that, although perhaps not the biggest fan of all Compass Box products I’ve sampled, I must admit I have a lot of respect for the path John Glaser’s little enterprise has taken in producing their whiskies.  Compass Box has the stones to not only fight the good fight, but to win.  Love it.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Compass Box Spice Tree Review

Compass Box Spice Tree

46% abv

Score:  91/100


An interesting tale, this one.  Compass Box originally released “The Spice Tree” back in 2005, to what I understand was considerable critical acclaim.  A messy little ado rose with the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association) over the method of maturation, and in turn ended in “The Spice Tree” being deemed ‘illegal’ by SWA standards.  Fast forward a couple of years, technical snafu worked out satisfactorily to all parties, and voila…the re-emergence of a truly enjoyable vatted malt.

Damn.  What a neat little product Compass Box has put together.  A celebration of true whisky production evident in the lack of chill-filtration or artificial coloring.  Brilliantly bottled at a healthy 46% as well.  The whisky itself is a lovely rich golden amber color with thick legs if you give it a gentle swirl in the glass.  Oily and rich to the eye as well as the palate.

First thing to hit the nose is a big spicy sweetness.  Something sort of zesty…perhaps orange rind…a little more tart than the fruit itself.  This is tempered by a bit of vanilla and smoke.  A swish over the palate brings that sweetness right up front and compliments it with some spice and malt.  You’ll find a big oak nuttiness to it, soft vanilla edges and a charred roasted marshmallow flavor.  A little peat smoke rounds out the back.  The finish is long and warming.  “The Spice Tree” is a bit heavier than the other Compass Box products I’ve tried thus far.  This is a good thing.

This whisky, like most in the Compass Box line, sports such a unique profile that it is quite difficult to predict the extent of its appeal, as it is somewhat challenging to draw parallels to other whiskies.  If the opportunity presents itself, do try, and let me know what you think.

Though “The Spice Tree” likely won’t hit the Canadian market for several months, we were fortunate enough to sample it at a recent tasting hosted by Compass Box’s John Glaser.  I fear the price point on this one will put it out of reach for many (just a speculation), but I personally will anxiously be awaiting word on a Canadian release date.

Nice work, Compass Box.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Pat at