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Compass Box GKS Glasgow KWM Cask

Compass Box GKS Glasgow KWM Cask


This is our third KWM exclusive Compass Box Blend, and it is one for the peat heads! It is also our second marrying cask from the Great King Street line - this time from the Glasgow Blend - which means it has a bit of sherry cask influence and a dash of peat or more as well! Bottled at 49%, the whisky is the 2018 Glasgow Blend, finished for just under 2 years in a second fill Sherry Butt from the Craigellachie Distillery. The whisky is 18% Laphroaig, and it dominates the blend. The sherry matured Craigellachie 34% plays second fiddle, while the 35% Cameronbridge grain, matured in First Fill ex-Bourbon, plays a moderating role, adding an elegant touch!


The Composition of the 2018 Glasgow Blend (The Ages Are Pre-Finishing)

  1. 35% 11 Year Cameronbridge First Fill Bourbon Barrel
  2. 34% 9 Year Craigellachie First Fill Sherry Butt
  3. 18% 6 Year Laphroaig Refill Bourbon Barrel
  4. 10% 6 Year Clynelish First Fill Bourbon
  5. 3% 7 Year Highland Malt Blend
700ml ml
Region: Scotland > Other
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Andrew's Tasting Note

Nose: big, rich and nutty with ashy peat and Dutch licorice; a touch waxy with round fruits: orange, melons and apricots; soft leather, dark chocolate, earthy dunnage notes and crisp oak spices; underneath the top note of sherry loads of creamy vanilla and honey.  

Palate: big, bold, round and smooth; bold leather, chocolate and tobacco along with ashy peat, tar and Dutch licorice; as the sherry pulls back it unveils elegant vanilla and delicate fruits: juicy orange, soft melons and dried apricots; the smoke is firm with an ashy, subtly medicinal edge; malty, meaty and nutty with late spices: cinnamon heart, ginger and cloves..

Finish: long, coating, creamy and warm with decadent spices, smoke and a subtle medicinal edge; rich and elegant.

Comment: wow, we tried the cask sample all those many months ago, but the final bottled whisky is even better; Laphroaig accounts for less than 20% of the Blend, but is without question the heart of the Blend; the Cameronbridge has added a touch of delicacy while the Bourbon matured Clynelish and heavily sherried Craigellachie also make their presence felt, but Laphroaig is standard bearer leading the charge.

Originally written by Evan for a blog post related to KWM's 2020 Whisky Calendar.

Let’s start with a side note: Us Canadians are used to a different pronunciation of Craigellachie than the Scots. We also often know it more as the B.C. town where the last spike in the Canada Pacific Railway was driven into railway tie - and we pronounce it something like “Craig-a-latch-key” – if you drop the key in “key”. For the proper pronunciation of the Distillery name, the CH in CraigellaCHie is hardened to a “k” sound. I would love to link to the great Brian Cox saying it for our benefit on Youtube, but sadly I don’t think he recorded that one. Instead, here is some other guy saying it.

Craigellachie Distillery resides in Banffshire, Scotland in the heart of Speyside – not too far down the road from both Macallan and Aberlour distilleries, among others. Craigellachie was founded in 1891 and is currently owned by Bacardi under their John Dewar’s and Sons Scotch Whisky Branch. It is one of five Scottish Distilleries own by Bacardi, all of which are bottled under their Last Great Malts line of single malts.

Craigellachie is one of less than 20 distilleries in Scotland operating today to utilize worm tubs to condense the spirit vapours coming up off the neck of the pot stills. From the neck, the spirit vapour flows through a lyne arm that connects to a long line of copper tubing that is submerged in a large vat of cooling water. Though this piping might be lengthy, it doesn’t allow as much copper contact as a more typical spiral tubed condenser would.

The resulting spirit retains more heavy, meaty, sulphury notes that would have been stripped out with increased copper contact. This is what gives Craigellachie its rich, meaty style at such a young age. It is also what makes Craigellachie sought after for blending, just as it does with the likes of Mortlach, Benrinnes and Balmenach – other distilleries that utilize worm tubs. 

Craigellachie is primarily used by Bacardi/Dewar’s for its Dewar’s White Label and other Blended Scotch Whisky the company creates.

Craigellachie is one of only two distilleries to be bottled at a respectable 46% ABV in Bacardi’s Last Great Malts family of single malts – the other being Aultmore. What makes it unique in the line is that all official Craigellachie bottlings thus far have been released with age statements that happen to be prime numbers. There is the 13 Year Old that we will be tasting, as well as ages 17, and 23 years old in the core range. There is also a 19-year-old duty-free bottling and a few older that we haven’t seen much of yet in Alberta: these are 31, 33, 39, and 51 years old respectively.

Originally written by Evan for a blog post related to KWM's 2020 Whisky Calendar


This is one of the Islay classics, one of the peated beasts that makes you either love or fear this style of Single Malt Scotch. For me, this was the first heavily peated Scotch Whisky I ever purchased years and years ago. I was just getting into Scotch Whisky at the time, and I had no experience with the smoky, peated side of it yet. I just picked a bottle of Laphroaig 10 Year Old off the shelf because I liked the plain, stark style of the label on the tube I guess.

When I got around to cracking open the bottle and tasting it for the first time I honestly thought that there was something wrong with it, like a corked bottle of wine. I asked my Dad to taste it to see if I should take it back and he instead confirmed that yes, that is what Laphroaig is supposed to taste like. If memory serves, I choked down the rest of that bottle of Laphroaig 10 Year Old by mixing it with coke and ginger ale.

That first dive into the deep end of heavily peated Scotch is nearly two decades back in time for me now. After that, I started going to tastings and festivals and tried more Scotch and quickly developed a love for peated whisky.

Belly Of The Beast - Inside The Malt Kiln At Laphroaig Distillery

Laphroaig Distillery celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2015. Two centuries plus five years back now, it was founded by two brothers, who placed the distillery right on the shores of Islay. Today, it remains one of a handful of distilleries to at least partially supply its own malt. Using the floor maltings and kiln at the distillery, the malt is peated to a spec of between 50 and 60 PPM. The distillery’s own maltings can only supply about 15% percent of the malt needed, though. The rest is brought in from Port Ellen Maltings, which is less than a 10-minute drive to the west, on the opposite side of the town of Port Ellen. The sourced malted barley is peated between 35 and 45 PPM.

Two Kilometres down the road from Laphroaig Distillery is Lagavulin Distillery. Walk or drive another two clicks down the same road and you will hit Ardbeg Distillery.

On Islay, all other distilleries are dwarfed production-wise by Caol Ila. Laphroaig can outproduce most other Islay distilleries beyond that, but wouldn’t only be able to pump out half as much spirit as Caol Ila if they were both running at full capacity. However, Laphroaig is the number one selling Islay Single Malt Scotch brand. It also happens to be the favourite Scotch Whisky of the Duke of Rothesay, who also goes by Prince Charles when he is not in Scotland.

The core lineup of Laphroaig currently consists of the Laphroaig Select, the 10 Year OldQuarter CaskTriple WoodLore, and 25 Year Old. There is also a 10-Year-Old Cask Strength which sadly does not come to Canada. I believe we can all agree that is a travesty.

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