I kindly received some samples of the latest 2015 Compass Box Whisky Limited Editions from Herman Van Broekhuizen, the Brand Ambassador for Compass Box Whisky. These were the 15th Anniversary Flaming Heart and the surreal-ly named, with a nod of the head to Magritte, This Is Not A Luxury Whisky. I have been selling Compass Box Whisky at Fareham Wine Cellar since it was launched and I almost always have a couple of their whiskies, the Spice Tree and Peat Monster, on the go at home, so I guess you could call be a bit of a fan of their whiskies.
I had already heard from one of my customers who had attended The Whisky Show 2015 that both the Compass Box Flaming Heart and the This Is Not A Luxury Whisky were stunning whiskies. So, armed with my samples, I sat down one afternoon last week to have an attempt at some tasting notes. Please be gentle with me, I am more used to tasting and writing notes about wines than whiskies!
I have also included the flavour descriptors from the Compass Box Whisky website and, perhaps rather more interesting, the composition of the two whiskies as well. There are some very old whiskies in the blends, particularly in the This Is Not A Luxury Whisky, a blend of 19, 40 and 30 year old malt and grain whiskies. Grain whiskies this old are very rare indeed.
Compass Box Flaming Heart
Fifteenth Anniversary Limited Edition
Blended Malt Scotch Whisky 48.9% 70cl
Appearance: Clear, bright, pale, golden barley corn colour.
Nose: Aromatic and pungent nose. Aromas of smoke, nutty almond hints, cereal, spicy oak and some sweet notes of honey and vanilla. There is some medicinal character, with a touch of sticking plaster, and there are some salty, maritime aromas too. A bit of a nose-tingler. A small drop of water brings extra sweet vanilla aromas.
Mouthfeel: Nice medium weight, slight oily feel.
Palate: Medium-rich and spicy. Good oaky, new barrel character and a touch of pepper, piney / resin notes, clean wood smoke and menthol character. Gently warming. Sweet through the entry and mid-palate. Vibrant.
Finish: Finishes sweet, but not overly sweet, and long. Complex yet clean and fresh. Excellent.
Fifteenth Anniversary Limited Edition
release of 12,060 bottles.
Bottled in July 2015.
Bottled at 48.9%
From Compass Box Whisky,
A unique interplay between spice, sweet and smoke characteristics. Sweet fruits and wood-smoke on the nose. Fat and full-bodied on the palate with a spicy sweetness and a brooding complexity that is rich, sweet and addictively decadent.
Compass Box This Is Not A Luxury Whisky
Blended Scotch Whisky 53.1% 70cl
Appearance: Good clear orange-y gold colour.
Nose: Warm and mellow nose. Sweet sherry notes, hints of floral (violet), aldehyde character and toffee / caramel aromas. Big and sweet with dried fruit and raisins. Hints of apples, pears and some sort of tropical fruit. A drop of water brings out a touch of orange citrus. There is also a faint smoky hint.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied.
Palate: Soft and warming. More herbal and grassy notes, hints of chocolate and sweet demerara (hints of rum), brown sugar notes and coconut. There is also some earthy, leathery character. Spicy (cinnamon), oaky and a bit of smoke. There is an awful lot going on here.
Finish: The finish is full, rich, spicy and very long. Very complex finish. Quite stunning.
Limited Edition release of 4,992 bottles.
Bottled in August 2015.
Bottled at 53.1%
From Compass Box Whisky
Complex, rich, lightly smoky and opulent. Sultanas, sweet sherry and concentrated floral notes combine with deep demerara sweetness, cacao and lighter creamy coconut character. An inviting nose, fat and full-bodied on the palate with a long, lingering sweet smoke finish.
These are two of the best Compass Box Whiskies I have tried. The Flaming Heart is a superb blended malt, it reminds me of the original bottling, a well-balance mix of sweet and smoke. The This Is Not A Luxury Whisky is a big brooding whisky, perfect for afternoons in front of a wood fire, a whisky for contemplation. I urge you to seek both of these out.