Welcome to KWM Whisky Advent Day 9!
Compass Box is Scotland’s most respected Boutique Blender, and 2015 is it’s 15th Anniversary, a banner year. The firm was founded by John Glaser who’d got his start in the liquor business working in the wine trade before. Along the way he found himself working for one of the world’s largest whisky companies in their marketing department. John also learned the art of blending working for Johnny Walker, he was hooked and it gave him an idea. He wanted to create a boutique blending firm within the Johnny Walker family. The industry juggernaut was not interested, so John set off on his own with their blessing, and contracts giving him access to some of their whiskies.
Compass Box was born in 2000 with an eye to innovation and a desire to reinvigorate the Blended Scotch Whisky category. Single Malts were exploding in popularity and Compass Box saw an opportunity to make Blends that would appeal to single malt drinkers. John wanted people to get excited about Blended Scotch and the techniques used to produce them. Over the last decade and a half Compass Box has been pushing the boundaries for Blended Scotch Whisky. Like the most exciting single malt producers Compass Box has a core range, but also releases interesting one off expressions. Some of these releases have drawn the scrutiny of the Scotch Whisky Association SWA, which doesn’t have the most progressive reputation. In 2005 Compass Box first released The Spice Tree which involved inserting French oak staves (inner staves) into American oak casks for a secondary maturation. The SWA felt this was in contravention of the rules governing Scotch Whisky, and they threatened to sue. Annoyed but undaunted Compass Box shifted gears slightly putting French oak heads on American oak casks, nothing the SWA could do about that…
Compass Box added the extension of the Great King Street line in 2012. That year Great King Street Artist’s Blend was named Blended Whisky of the Year in Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky Awards. A few years back John and his team were looking to broaden the Great King Street range and released two new experimental whiskies to give their most ardent fans a say in their next edition. From this crowd sourcing the Great King Street Glasgow was born, a whisky blended to be characteristic of whiskies popular in the 1930s. The blend is full bodied with a touch of peat and prominent sherry notes.
Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow - 43% – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: oatmeal cookie dough, crisp spices and soft clean smoke; soft white fruits, a touch of honey and new leather; dried fruits and caramel chews; Palate: a soft thread of oily peat, buttery vanilla, light but crisp spices, mixed nuts and dried fruits; the caramel is still there with with sliced green apple and poached pear; Finish: long, coating and creamy with fading spices, dried fruits and soft smoke; Comment: in my love affair with single malts, I often forget the subtle pleasures of a good blend, especially one that is such good value! -$50.99
Stay tuned for Day 10 of KWM Whisky Advent Tomorrow