Today I decided to review a blended whisky from Compass Box Whiskymakers. Wait…. what is a Whiskymaker? Compass Box states a Whiskymaker is someone who feels a need and an obligation to make things better – to ask questions, to challenge, to experiment. A Whiskymaker is different from a distiller, more than a blender. They keep their minds open to new possibilities, new production processes, new combinations of flavours, new ways of sharing and enjoying whisky.
Compass Box Great King St. is named for Compass Box’s Edinburgh offices, Great King St. is a range of blended whiskies with a large amount of single malt in the recipe. These highly approachable whiskies were aimed at appealing to whisky connoisseurs, non-whisky drinkers and cocktail enthusiasts alike.
The expression I am reviewing today is the Artist’s Blend. Artist’s Blend is a tribute to the whisky blenders of the 19th Century. Individuals whose artistry and creativity pioneered the spirit that would become one of the world’s most famous and desired drinks. They drew on an old recipe and applied their own innovative cask maturation techniques to create a complex and versatile, high single malt content blended Scotch whisky.
Grain Whisky matured in first fill American oak from Cameronbridge Distillery makes up 46.2% of this recipe and gives it vanilla and caramel flavours. Malt Whisky matured in first fill Bourbon hogsheads from Clynelish Distillery makes up 29.7% of the blend giving it fruitiness and apple character. The next 16.1% is made up of a Highland blend of malt whiskies from Clynelish, Teaninich and Dailuaine distilleries which is given a second maturation in highly active French oak hybrid barrels. This addition gives richness and bold spiciness to the blend. The final 8% in this complex blend is matured in Sherry butts from Linkwood Distillery adding fragrant floral notes. Here is my take!
Bottled at 43% ABV
Nose: Honey, vanilla, dried apricots, citrus and cereal notes.
Palate: Vanilla custard, rich Christmas spices, lemons, buttery, apple pie, floral, dried fruit.
Finish: Freshly baked shortbread, spices, long and lingering.