Compass Box Whisky

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Compass Box Whisky

Unread postby MikeK » Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:05 am

I had the pleasure last night of attending a tasting with John Glaser of Compass Box Whisky. John has a small line of vatted whiskys he created. As usual, they had to throw me out of the store long after it closed, so I had some quality time to talk with John about what he is doing. While I am not a fan of blends such as Johnny Walker or Chivas, I was very suprised at how good a quality vatted malt could be.

Theoretically a quality vatted malt should be as good or even better than a good single malt, and John is proving this possible.

OK, I'm starting to sound like a sales man, which was not my intent. I just want to recommend the product if you ever get a chance to try it. I didn't like the "Hedonism" Scottish grain whisky, but everything else in his line is quite reasonably priced and very good.

Cheers,

Mike
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Unread postby Art L » Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:16 pm

I have to agree with MikeK, Compass Box makes some surprisingly tasty blended scotches, probably because it's not made the same way as traditional blends are.

Of the 4 Compass Box whiskies that I've tasted, I liked 3 out of the 4.

Eleuthera and Peat Monster are smokey yet complex 100% vatted malt whiskies. While the light and fruity Asyla is a blend of grain and malt whiskies. Hedonism is 100% scottish grain whisky, and while I don't particularly care for it, I think it's great to try such a unique product.

I don't want to sound like a salesman either, but I feel people need to hear about good products. So if you're looking for something a little different in a scotch, definitely give Compass Box a look. It's a fine drink at a decent price.
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Unread postby MikeK » Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:54 pm

I got to spend some time with John Glaser again today. He is in the States for a short trip and spent the afternoon at a Whisk(e)y tasting I was at. I was wearing the "Peat Monster" T-shirt he sent me over a year back and he spotted me right away :)

I got to try one of his new offerings, "Oak Cross". It was very good. He then pulled out a bottle from his bag that we was not pouring for the 'masses'. It is called "Flaming Heart". It is a vatting of Clynelish and Caol Isla, to combine smokiness and sweetness. It is excellent! It will not be available in the US until this fall.

We also discussed "Spice Tree", his product that used some extra French Oak staves suspended in the barrel. Th SMWA sued him to stop producing it. My buddy Art picked up a bottle of this, so I'll get to try it soon. It is supposed to be amazing. John said he is thinking about making another batch of it one day, but not labeling it as whisky so the SMWA won't be able to do anything about it.

Hey Gary, (Gillman) I asked John if he had seen you lately, he mentioned a dinner event of some sort. You 2 must have quite a time comparing vatting notes!

Cheers,
Mike
"The only way to drink Bourbon is straight, and preferably straight from the barrel."
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Unread postby gillmang » Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:48 am

Hi Mike, I have met John Glaser a number of times. His products are beautifully put together and he has a genuine passion for malt whisky that is evident as well when he speaks to groups. (Not all Compass Box whisky is vatted I believe, but I think most is). His Oak Cross and other bottlings are just superb. He did one especially for our market in Ontario which is my benchmark for vatting quality (it is only 2 whiskies). He is a great addition to the scotch whisky business and I wish him much success.

Gary
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Unread postby Mike » Sat Apr 07, 2007 8:31 pm

MikeK wrote:I got to try one of his new offerings, "Oak Cross". It was very good. Hey Gary, (Gillman) I asked John if he had seen you lately, he mentioned a dinner event of some sort. You 2 must have quite a time comparing vatting notes!

Cheers,


I like 'my' liquor store cause when I go in they love to tell me about what is new and might be of interest to me. I hate 'my' liquor store cause when they see me coming they know I am a sucker for a new taste and know they can get me to try something.

Well, I had a sip of Compass Box Oak Cross and was quite taken with it. So I cough up about $48 and think if I like it as much as I think I will, I will be able to scratch out a little piece on BE about it.

Howsomever, you have to get up soon, soon in the A.M. to steal a march on the likes of Mike Kellstrand and Gary Gillman. I vaguely remembered Compass Box and thought it had a favorable post or two here on BE. On that basis and the sip of Oak Cross, I was a goner...........and so was my $48. Alas, as I should have known, Kellstrand and Gillman were there afore me..........but, what good company I am in!

This a vatting of Highland Single Malts done in 'first fill' and 'refill' American oak and a secondary maturation in French and American oak. It is 86 proof and unlike any other 'Scotch' with which I am familiar.

Nose: A soft nose, with definite vanilla, malt, and light smokey elements which are almost delicate and quite seducitve and sensuous. There are peat and heather aromas that, with their organic hints, make you think you are outside in Scotland on a late spring day.

Taste: A soft taste with vanilla/malty sweetness which quickly becomes spicy (cloves, it says on the label, and, I agree), but not peppery. A very good balance is achieved and the thick richness is never lost to the alcohol.

Finish: A moderate to long finish with a slight burn that never overwhelms the rich malty vanilla flavors.

Comments: In my humble opinion, you can never go wrong if you combine malt and vanilla flavors in good proportion. They both seem to be universal flavor touchpoints to most human persons.

Compass Box Oak Cross is a great example of how to balance these irresistable flavors in an alcoholic spirit that also harkens to that elemental human love of fire and of smoke.

I believe that John Glaser reached deep into the human psyche to fashion a spirit that is very pleasing aromatically and gustatorialy. It is not a call to do, it is a call to be. It comes after all the doing is done, it is the reward for a doing well done.

Maybe it is my poverty of imagination, but I cannot imagine a full human life without our great spirits and the enjoyment, comfort, and comaraderie they offer. Many of my most memorable moments were spent with friends in deep communion over such spirits. A loosening of tongues, a spontaneity of soul, a forging of ties (a risk of abusing all that, but we will speak of that another time) are indelible memories.

Man does not live by bread alone. He can achieve, can learn, can celebrate, can enjoy, can experience, can love, can hate, can dance, can sing, can cry (oh, yes), can lie, can live, and can die (with dignity and willingness in the best of cases). That he can do so without benefit of spirits is beyond doubt...........but why?
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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Unread postby gillmang » Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:23 pm

Nicely put as always, Mike. I believe the secondary maturation John Glaser does , the "finish", is unique because (in the Oak Cross) he has used a barrel fashioned alternately of American and French oak staves. It is that kind of creativity and thought-process that I admire in John Glaser.

Gary
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