Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Getting Around To Compass Box

I'm usually a late-in-the-game kind of guy, and my experience with Compass Box reflects that; I finally bought my first bottle just after Christmas.

A while back, I tried Peat Monster at a friend's pub and was impressed, especially at that price point. Knowing that I had no clear idea of why I'd been avoiding Compass Box whiskies, I kicked myself and set my mind to buying a bottle in the near future. After thoroughly researching their range online, I found myself most intrigued by Spice Tree, their Highland Malt blend that gets it name from the fact that French Oak casks are skillfully used to give the whisky an unusual level of spiciness. Unusual for a Highland Malt blend, that is. What I also found appealing about this whisky was its level of complexity; drinking Highland Single Malts and Malt blends tends to be a straightforward, smooth affair unlikely to challenge the taste buds. This one, however, is challenging indeed.

In Spice Tree you have a vatted malt bottled at 46% , not chill filtered and with natural coloring, all unusual characteristics for a Highland Malt. The basic tasting notes given by Compass Box are...
A natural, deep, gold-brown colour and a rich nose with spices such as clove and nutmeg, and sweet stewed fruits. Palate is soft, sweet, deep and rich with a malt whisky fruitiness embellished by rich spice. Very long.
Check out Master of Malt's Spice Tree page for slightly more detailed notes.

The only thing I'll add is that it takes about five minutes for this one to open up in the glass, the biggest change over that initial five-minute period is the evolution of the finish which goes from bitter to spicy.

Overall, Compass Box Spice Tree is an excellent whisky that can be enjoyed by whisky drinkers ranging from beginner to experienced and has become a must-have whisky in my collection.

Further Reading: Compass Box Spice Tree Page

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