New CB whiskies always attract excitement. Expert blending, lots of Clynelish and Caol Ila, great designs and concepts – you can’t go wrong.
The new 3yo Deluxe and Spice Tree Extravaganza are here, but at the whisky show last weekend I also got to taste the Whisky de Table that Compass Box made for LMDW as part of their 60th anniversary – “a Scotch whisky that could be shared and enjoyed like a traditional Vin de Table. Something unpretentious, with a drinkability that calls you back to the glass for more”. It’s almost new make, but good stuff, and (like the 3 year old) it has the first of the whisky that Compass Box bought as new make, and matured themselves in their own casks. So expect more of that in the future. It must be pretty cool working for Compass Box!
Compass Box Whisky de Table, 40% B
9.9% Caol Ila. I couldn’t detect any peat in this whisky but I assume it is peated Caol Ila used here.
Body - Clean, weak, fresh and very drinkable.
Finish - Short and malty with a touch of tequila about it.
Fresh and drinkable, this'd be dangerous if you did have it at the dinner table.
32.6% Glen Ord, 1st fill sherry
17.2% Benrinnes, 1st fill sherry
2.6% Allt-a-Bhainne, refill bourbon
27.7% Highland malt blend, medium toast hybrid cask
4.3% Highland malt blend, refill hybrid cask
15.6% Highland malt blend, heavy toast hybrid cask
I know the ages on the above (and the below 3 year old) because I asked and they told me, but they don’t want them publicised.
Nose - Red berries, peach, gentle cask toffee and fruit pastilles. Gentle and balanced, that super cask thing gives a reassuring background maturity which is so well blended with the rest (although clearly it's not all old), the Benrinnes in here I think gives the gentle, slightly tropical fruit (although it’s actually quite young, the Glen Ord is the oldest whisky in here).
Body - Sweet then immediately bright (lemon juice, reduced sugar and vinegar) and glue (a touch of Pritt Stick and UHU), then much more mellow with sherry and floral tones and wax dominating. Very warm, a little spice.
Finish - Very long, sherried to the end with big tannins (stewed tea) and long burnt sugar and red apple. Citrus tannins with water.
An extremely accomplished whisky. A real ride with different flavours opening and closing, but perfectly judged throughout. Lovely stuff.
0.4% Clynelish. First Fill bourbon
90.3% Clynelish. Refill bourbon
9.3% Talisker. First fill sherry
Nose - It's so lovely to nose and taste Compass Box blends after wall to wall cask strength. The same poise but fresher, slightly more purpose to it with more lemon and more library wood polish. That peat is practically undetectable at first but eventually serves the same purpose as it does in old Highland Park.
Body - Perfect again, slightly spicier with more intense wood lacquer, beeswax and limoncello - and the peat from the Talisker is very prominent now. Vanilla cake behind this but it's never allowed to dominate.
Finish - Long and very fruity, orange and grapefruit juice, lemon zest and baked apple at the end.
Fresh yet mature, bags of citrus on top of wax and a touch of chili, this is a another delicious whisky.
So which is better? The 3 is clearly the bigger whisky, but expensive for [redacted] year old Clynelish. The Spice Tree is better priced but overwhelmed by the 3 in comparison side by side. Both excellent examples of blending magic. My money is on the Spice Tree though, I buy Compass Box whisky for drinking, not collecting and I wouldn’t drink it at that price.
Don't forget the flaming heart and enlightenment are both still available and both phenomenal (I bought multiples of those two!).
Thanks CB for the samples and the general awesomeness.