Compass Box

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Everyone always loves something a bit special. Gift boxes, limited editions, a good deal – all a worthy reason to treat yourself. If you’re a lover of whisky, you may have come across a relatively new, yet established company named Compass Box. This is a company I have personally known about since the beginning of my career, but only really came to venture towards each expression in the past two years. Now though, I look forward to trying anything that these guys spring up on us all.

So who are Compass Box?

An American named John Glaser entered the world of Scottish whisky, after spending many a year in the wine trade. After working with one of the biggest brands in the world, Johnnie Walker, in 2000, he created what we know today – Compass Box Whisky Company. The reason? John wanted to create a great Scottish whisky that can be approachable to a wide range of consumers.  With this, the company buy individual casks and focus on creating a craftsman-like boutique product. None of their bottlings are chill-filtered and no colouring is added, and to round it off, they are all married exclusively in American oak.

Now I’ve been lucky enough to try the majority of the Compass Box range through various events and festivals, so below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Great King Street – 43%

Named after the street in Edinburgh where Compass Box is registered, it’s made combining 3 malt whiskies (two Northern Highland one Speyside) and 1 single grain whisky (Lowland) in never-before-used French oak barrels and American oak barrels. On the nose, a heavy scent of vanilla, citrus and some dried fruits with a sweet aroma hitting overall. As it moves onto your palate, fruity flavours gently hit your tongue which develops into vanilla, raisin and citrus. A creamy whisky that gives a long after-taste with a hint of spice.

Great King Street Glasgow Blend – 43%

Released in 2014. Soft honey and rose on the nose with smoke and strawberry jam combining well, followed with an underlining sweetness. Immediate fudge sweetness followed by a toffee smoke on the palate, plenty of light peat elements and hints of dry spice.Kicks of oak, bold, fresh peat creating a slightly dry citrus finish.

compass boxOak Cross – 43%

A Highland single malt whisky that’s vatted with a mix of 3 different malts for 12 months. The cask itself is a combination of French and American oak barrels, hence the name ‘Oak Cross’. On the nose it’s very light and sweet with a slight peat aroma emanating. The sweetness returns to the palate with vanilla notes making their way as well. A brief hit on the throat which gives a slow after-taste.

Spice Tree – 46%

Again another vatted malt from 3 single malts for a period of 24 months. The same cask process as ‘Oak Cross’ are used however they are burnt on the inside. Fruit aromas on the nose with a rich, spicy flavour igniting the palate that evolves into a lively well-rounded after-taste.

Peat Monster – 46%

3 single malts (two Isles and a Speyside) are vatted together in American oak casks to produce a soft, peaty aroma on the nose. Hints of smoke arise as the palate senses a light, sweet whisky with a slight spice and floral hints which goes into a lingering smoky finish. Not as harsh as expected!

Hedonism – 43%

First whisky to be created by Compass Box, a combination of grain whiskies in American casks that lasts for 20 years. A 100% grain whisky, rich flavours of coconut, toffee and vanilla create a creamy sensation on both the nose and palate, with the hints of grain in the background. A slight spicy end that gives a tingle towards the after-taste.

Orangerie – 40%

An infusion of Scotch whisky and the natural ingredients of orange peel and spices for a period of 3 weeks, this unique spirit can’t be named as a Scotch whisky due to its involvement of different ingredients. On the nose it gives a short orange aroma with a smooth orange, vanilla and subtle spice taste on the palate that balance well to create a clean, fresh feeling.

Flaming Heart – 48.9%

Combined peaty smokiness with the richness of French oak aging. A bold nose of smoke and peat but mellows quickly. A good combination of citrus and vanilla on the palate with a dry spice and smoke ending. Unfortunately discontinued.

The Entertainer –

Light on the nose with peat aromas noticeable and a whisp of soft corn. Rather sharp on the palate however with a slight kick of spice with makes your mouth water every time.

Eleuthera – 48.9%

Compass Box very first vatted malt, it combined 15yr malt whisky from the village of Brora with 12 yr malt from the village of Port Askaig. Slight pear aroma on the nose with a subtle floral scent following. Soft on the palate with a smooth offering of smoke which develops into a slight bitter end. Unfortunately discontinued.

Asyla – 40%

The most awarded bottle in the range. A light nose with soft aromas of green apple. Very smooth once on the palate but develops into a lingering spice that warms the apple flavours. Long.

If you ever have the chance to try something new, or indeed come across Compass Box in your bar, you will find an expression to suit your taste. The beauty of Compass Box is that they have given vision form a consumer’s point of view, what people actually want from whisky. And they’ve done it well. Grab a dram today.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Moet & Hennessy Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

It’s been that time of month again at Kro 2 with their monthly whisky tasting and this time Moet and Hennessy were the guests, bringing with them Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

Again for those of you who don’t know what Kro Bar is, they’re a Danish family business who specialise in Danish food and beer. A popular idea in the Manchester area, they’ve expanded from 1 outlet to 5 in the space of 10 years.

Our host for the evening was Alex, and he took us through a thorough history of Moet and Hennessy itself and the whiskies they have under their portfolio.

Now I’ve personally never tried any of the Glenmorangie range, but i had the chance to sample Ardbeg at this years Manchester Whisky Festival a few months back. So with a rough idea of what my taste-buds would be expecting, below are my tasting notes on each whisky offered to us:-

The range of Glenmorangie on offer

Glenmorangie Nectar D’or – 46%

A multi-award winning Single Malt, sweet, rich vanilla notes dominate the nose with slight hints of toffee wandering soon after. The palate enjoys a slow build-up of spice, ginger and red berry that creates a warmth that lingers playfully long after.

Glenmorangie Lasanta – 46%

Another award-winning Single Malt, the Lasanta spends ten years maturing in American white oak ex-bourbon casks before being extra-matured for a further two years in Oloroso Sherry casks from Jerez in Spain.
Wild spice with lots of dry oak flavours mix well on the nose, with a smooth yet heavier flavour of sherry and nuts on the palate. Subtle orange hints on the after-taste.

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban – 46%

Again award-winning, the Quinta Ruban spends 10 years maturing in American white oak casks, before being transferred into specially selected ruby port pipes from the Quintas or wine estates of Portugal. 
The nose  is light with a sharp mint flavour hitting the senses. with a slight spice nearing the end. The palate has a combination of dark chocolate and fresh mint, that mellows out to become a lot smoother after a few sips. Hints of orange are also detected throughout.

Glenmorangie Original (not tasted) & Ardbeg 10yr

Ardbeg 10yr – 46%

On the nose, a subtle hint of peat mixes with light hits of smoke. Lemon and limes are also swirling slowly. The palate enjoys light, fresh combinations of cinnamon, lemons and limes with a hint of iodine. It’s not as strong hitting as you may expect.

Ardbeg Uigeadail – 54.2%

A smooth, mellow hint of peat with honey and sugar mixing well on the nose. However the palate has a sharp peat hit mixing with winter spices that mellows quickly to produce a rather short after-taste.

Ardbeg Corryvreckan – 57%

Light, peat iodine notes with lots of herbs and blackcurrant combining well on the nose. A soft blend of cream and spices start well initially, but develops into a rather harsh dance of salt and iodine for a short after-taste.

Traditional Fish Pie

To compliment the whisky selection, the Head Chef at Kro 2 created a traditional Scottish fish pie involving haddock, cod and pollock, mixed with peas in a white wine sauce, topped with cheese and mash potato.

 

Another thoroughly enjoyable event in which we were able to sample a good range of two award-winning whiskies. Personal highlights were the Glenmorangie Nectar D’or and the Ardbeg 10yr.

Next month’s Kro 2 whisky tasting is yet to be announced, but expect to see advertising for it here as soon as details are released.

 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

Coming soon is the fourth whisky tasting event to be held at Kro 2 on Manchester’s Oxford Road.

Following last month’s successful visit from Maxxium Brands (click here for the review) they now welcome Moet & Hennessy Distillery to the table to present their portfolio of Scotch whisky delights.

Their range will include –

– Glenmorangie Lasanta
– Glenmorangie Quinta Ruben
– Glenmorangie Nectar D’or
– Ardbeg 10yr
– Ardbeg Uigeadail
– Ardber Corryvreckan

Kro 2 will also have their head chef create a dish to compliment the whiskies on offer!

This must-go-to event will take place Wednesday 7th December from 7.30pm and will cost £20 per head.

For further details and to purchase tickets, you can either swing by Kro 2, give them a call on 0161 236 1048 or visit their website at http://www.kro.co.uk/kro-two

See you there!

Maxxium Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

It’s been that time of month again at Kro 2 with their monthly whisky tasting and this time incorporating the whiskies of Maxxium.

Again for those of you who don’t know what Kro Bar is, they’re a Danish family business who specialise in Danish food and beer. A popular idea in the Manchester area, they’ve expanded from 1 outlet to 5 in the space of 10 years.

Our host for the evening was Mike Green, the Brand Development Manager of Maxxium, and he took us through a thorough history of Maxxium itself as well as the whiskies they have under their portfolio. These included –

– Ardmore Traditional Cask
– Highland Park 12yr
– Macallan 10yr Fine Oak
– Glenrothes Select Reserve
– Laphroaig 10yr
– Snow Grouse
– Highland Park 18yr

Now I’ve personally never tried any of these whiskies before apart from Laphroaig 10yr, and i encountered Maxxium at the London Cocktail Week a few weeks back (click here for my review on Stolichnaya). Maxxium themselves are responsible for the sales, local marketing and distribution of many of the world’s leading premium spirits and wine brands including Jim Beam, Courvoisier, Bols and Makers Mark. The company is owned by two equal shareholders: BEAM Inc and The Edrington Group.

Back to the night, below are my tasting notes on each whisky offered to us:-

Snow Grouse – 40%

Served chilled. Smooth on the nose with a fragrant aroma of vanilla coming through near the end. On the palate, a sharp, slightly harsh flavour of vanilla with an almost tequila like taste lingering around giving a warm after-taste.

Glenrothes Select Reserve – 43%

Slightly peaty on the nose with hints of citrus lemons and limes blending their way through. A smooth, slighlty velvety taste on the palate, with vanilla and barley subtly making an appearance near the end. A slight malt burn on the after-taste but an easy drinker non-the-less.

Macallan Fine Oak 10yr – 40%

On then nose, smooth vanilla produces a slight sweetness aroma that becomes enthasised on the palate, although the flavour is rather short. A blend of walnut and butter mix well but result in very little after-taste. Short offering, but a great choice!

Highland Park 12yr – 40%

Slight peatyness on the nose with subtle aromas of honey and citrus fruits to give a well-balanced flavour. On the palate, it’s clean, almost breathless with a light texture. A low spice on the after-taste with a slight sweetness if you add a dash of water.

Ardmore Traditional Cask – 46%

Lots of caramel on the nose, with a slight peat aroma making its way through near the end. Sweet palate offering with a slightly peaty burn on the tongue. Some caramal and vanilla flavours mixing well too.

Laphroaig 10yr – 40%

Smoky peat instantly hits your nose, with sea salt following soon after. Iodine aromas flowing slowly near the end. The palate enjoys a smoky smooth vanilla with oak flavours resulting in a long after-taste with a hint of spice near the end.

Highland Park 18yr – 43%

Lots of toffee sweetness on the nose with some fresh fruit aromas subtly overtaking near the end. The palate encounters a very smooth blend of cinnamon and toffee with a citrus end resulting in a very mild offering with a slight sweetness.

Mid-way through the tastings, Kro supplied us with a delicious dish named Cullen Skink. A mix of smoked Scottish Haddock, potato and onion served with fresh oven baked seeded bread rolls. Delicious!

Another thoroughly enjoyable event in which we were able to sample a good range of whatMaxxium have to offer. Personal highlights were the Highland Park 18yr and Macallan 10yr, hopefully two items I’ll be picking up to add to my collection soon! Special thanks to Mike Green who displayed a great amount of knowledge of the whiskies on offer, and hopefully I’ll get to see both himself and Maxxium in the near future with their wide range in their portfolio.

Next month’s Kro 2 whisky tasting will be hosted by Moet & Hennessy Distillery. On offer will be –

– Glenmorangie Lasanta
– Glenmorangie Quinta Ruben
– Glenmorangie Nectar D’or
– Ardbeg 10yr
– Ardbeg Uigeadail
– Ardber Corryvreckan

Check out Kro’s website here – http://www.kro.co.uk/

Take a look at Maxxium Brands website here – http://www.maxxium.co.uk/

You can purchase the above whiskies here – http://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What to look forward too . . . . . .

It’s been a busy month with lots of events, tastings and experiences to write-up about!

I apologise if posts of the events are not being displayed as quickly as they have done in the past, time has escaped me all too often lately! But I’m catching up and hopefully within the next week I should have the following articles up and ready for you all to enjoy –

The Liquorists Nominees and Spirited Ventures Trails from the Manchester Food & Drink Festival reviews

Elbow Beer tasting notes

Alchemist Dreams review

Glengoyne 10, 17 and 21yr tasting notes

Photos from the London Cocktail Week

Maxxium whisky tasting at Kro2 review

So with all this to look forward to, make sure you sign up to my e-mail subscription located on the home page.

You can also follow me on Twitter @flowgomanic

And make sure you ‘Like’ my new Facebook page!

Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

Coming soon is the second whisky tasting event to be held at Kro 2 on Manchester’s Oxford Road.

Following last month’s successful visit from the Scottish independent whisky makers Compass Box (https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/scotch-whisky-tasting-at-kro-2/) they now welcome the Maxxium whisky company to the table to present their portfolio of Scotch whisky delights.

Their range will include –

– Ardmore
– Highland Park 10yr
– Macallan 10yr Fine Oak
– Glenrothes Select Reserve
– Laphroaig 10yr

Kro 2 will also have their head chef create a dish to compliment the whiskies on offer!

This must-go-to event will take place Wednesday 2nd November from 7.30pm and will cost £20 per head.

For further details and to purchase tickets, you can either swing by Kro 2, give them a call on 0161 236 1048 or visit their website at http://www.kro.co.uk/kro-two

See you there!

Compass Box Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

It’s been that time of month again at Kro 2 with their monthly whiskey tasting and this time incorporating the whiskies of the independent Scottish company Compass Box.  

Again for those of you who don’t know what Kro Bar is, they’re a Danish family business who specialise in Danish food and beer. A popular idea in the Manchester area, they’ve expanded from 1 outlet to 5 in the space of 10 years.

Our host for the evening was Celine Tetu, the Sales & Marketing Executive of Compass Box, and she took us through a thorough history of Compass Box itself as well as the whiskies they have under their portfolio. These included –

– Great King Street
– Oak Cross
– The Spice Tree
– The Peat Monster
– Hedonism
– Orangerie

 Now I’ve personally never tried any of these whiskies before, although i have encountered Compass Box at bar trade shows in the past. Compass Box was only founded in 2000 by John Glaser, and in that short period of time they have explored the full range of Scotch, from the peatiest of malts to the richest of grains. 

The range of whiskies on offer

Below are my tasting notes on each whiskey offered to us:-

Great King Street – 43%

Named after the street in Edinburgh where Compass Box is registered, it’s made combining 3 malt whiskies (two Northern Highland one Speyside) and 1 single grain whisky (Lowland) in never-before-used French oak barrels and American oak  barrels. On the nose, a heavy scent of vanilla, citrus and some dried fruits with a sweet aroma hitting overall. As it moves onto your palate, fruity flavours gently hit your tongue which develops into vanilla, raisin and citrus. A creamy whisky that gives a long after-taste with a hint of spice.

Oak Cross – 43%

A Highland single malt whisky that’s vatted with a mix of 3 different malts for 12 months. The cask itself is a combination of French and American oak barrels, hence the name ‘Oak Cross’. On the nose it’s very light and sweet with a slight peat aroma emanating. The sweetness returns to the palate with vanilla notes making their way as well. A brief hit on the throat which gives a slow after-taste.

Spice Tree – 46%

Again another vatted malt from 3 single malts for a period of 24 months. The same cask process as ‘Oak Cross’ are used however they are burnt on the inside. Fruit aromas on the nose with a rich, spicy flavour igniting the palate that evolves into a lively well-rounded after-taste.

Peat Monster – 46%

3 single malts (two Isles and a Speyside) are vatted together in American oak casks to produce a soft, peaty aroma on the nose. Hints of smoke arise as the palate senses a light, sweet whisky with a slight spice and floral hints which goes into a lingering smoky finish. Not as harsh as expected!

Hedonism – 43%

First whisky to be created by Compass Box, a combination of grain whiskies in American casks that lasts for 20 years. A 100% grain whisky, rich flavours of coconut, toffee and vanilla create a creamy sensation on both the nose and palate, with the hints of grain in the background. A slight spicy end that gives a tingle towards the after-taste.

Orangerie – 40%

An infusion of Scotch whisky and the natural ingredients of orange peel and spices for a period of 3 weeks, this unique spirit can’t be named as a Scotch whisky due to its involvement of different ingredients. On the nose it gives a short orange aroma (almost a Jaffa Cake flavour) with a smooth orange, vanilla and subtle spice taste on the palate that balance well to create a clean, fresh feeling. It’s almost likened to a dessert whisky and the orange liqueurs of Cointreau and Grand Marnier.

Mid-way through the tastings, Kro supplied us with a delicious lamb-stew which went down very well in a cold and rainy Manchester!

A thoroughly enjoyable event in which we were able to sample a good range of what Compass Box have to offer. Personal highlights were the Orangerie and Oak Cross, hopefully two items I’ll be picking up to add to my collection soon! Special thanks to Celine Tetu who displayed a great amount of knowledge of the whiskies on offer, and hopefully I’ll get to speak to her again when Compass Box make an appearance at the Manchester Whisky Festival next Saturday.

Next month’s Kro 2 whisky tasting will be hosted by Maxxium Brands. On offer will be Ardmore, Highland Park 10yr, Macallan 10yr Fine Oak, Glenrothes Select Reserve and Laphroaig 10yr. 5 whiskies I’ve never tried, but can’t wait to taste!

Check out Kro’s website here – http://www.kro.co.uk/

Take a look at Compass Box website here – http://www.compassboxwhisky.com/home.html

You can purchase the above whiskies here – http://compassbox.specialitydrinks.com/

Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

 

Coming soon is the second whisky tasting event to be held at Kro 2 on Manchester’s Oxford Road.

Following last month’s successful visit from the award-winning Cooley Distillery (https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/irish-whiskey-tasting-at-kro-2/) they now welcome the Scottish independent Compass Box to the table to present their portfolio of Scotch whisky delights.

Their range will include –

Great King Street
Spice Tree
Hedonism
The Peat Monster
Orangerie

Kro 2 will also have their head chef create a dish to compliment the whiskies on offer!

This must-go-to event will take place Wednesday 5th October from 7.30pm and will cost £20 per head.

For further details and to purchase tickets, you can either swing by Kro 2, give them a call on 0161 236 1048 or visit their website at http://www.kro.co.uk/kro-two

See you there!

Irish Whiskey Tasting at Kro 2

Last night was Kro Bar’s monthly whiskey tasting night involving a range of whiskey from the Irish based Cooley Distillery.

For those of you who don’t know what Kro Bar is, they’re a Danish family business who specialise in Danish food and beer. A popular idea, they’ve expanded from 1 outlet to 5 in the space of 10 years.

Our host for the evening was Alex Johnson of Eaux de Vie, and he took us through a thorough history of Cooley Distillery itself as well as each individual brand under their portfolio. These included –

– Kilbeggan Blended
– Greenore 8 year old Single Grain
– Tyroconnell Single Malt
– Tyroconnell 10 year old Madeira Cask Finish Single Malt
– Connemara Peated Single Malt
– Connemara Turf Mor Peated Single Malt

The Irish whiskeys on offer for the night

Now I’ve personally never tried any of these whiskies before so this was another great insight into another part of the whiskey world. Below are my tasting notes on each whiskey offered to us:-

Kilbeggan Blended – 40% £23.99 rrp

Kilbeggan distillery has the title of the world oldest distillery under its belt (opened 1757) so with a whiskey steeped in history, we expected something a little special, and it delivered. On the nose it gave off a subtle mix of both vanilla and a rather sweet caramel aroma, whilst a soft and almost silky taste of caramel and dark chocolate lay themselves down on your palate, giving you a creamy finish. Recommended as a good starter whiskey to unfamiliar Irish whiskey drinkers, and I’d whole-heartedly agree!

Greenore 8 year old Single Grain – 40% £31 rrp

Produced in a continuous still instead of the traditional copper pot still, the Greenore 8yr is lighter in taste but rougher on the back of the throat. So with this in mind, the nose gave off some delicate citrus notes with a slight mix of corn. As it hits your tongue, it gives you a short, sharp hit but mellows quickly into a more distinctive citrus taste with a hint of barley coming through as it gives you a subtle burn (not as harsh as you would expect a grain whiskey to be).

Tyroconnell Single Malt – 40% £32 rrp

Named after a race horse back in America, it was originally produced by the Watts Distillery until prohibition forced them to settle in Ireland. Tyrocennell was Americas biggest selling whiskey before the prohibition, and was one of the first to be brought back to life by Cooleys in 1992. On the nose it gave off a fresh mix of jasmine, malt and honey with the palate enjoying a fruity blend of orange and lemon with the malt making a strong presence in the long after-taste.

Tyroconnell 10 year old Madeira Cask Finish Single Malt – 46% £49 rrp

Initially matured in American oak barrels, it finished life off for 6-8 months in a Madeira cask. Hints of cinnamon softly enter your nose but you get a kick of mixed spice as it hits your palate.

Connemara Peated Single Malt – 40% £31 rrp

Connemara distinguishes itself away from the Scotch peated whiskies as being produced in rural areas, not coastal, so there’s no powering hit of sea spray or iodine. On the nose it gives you a balance of dried fruits, honey and wild flower. The palate however gives you a silky smooth start of honey, with a more powerful and intense taste of fruit and peat coming through giving it a long finish.  

Connemara Turf Mor Peated Single Malt – 46% £51 rrp

What Alex described as ‘bringing out the heavy stuff’, the last whiskey of the night was the heavily peated Connemara Turf Mor. It gives off a rich mix of salt, spice and subtle smoke. On the palate it gives you an intense kick of peat and smoak but develops into a mellow after-taste that leaves dry spice flavours lingering.

Mid-way through the tastings, Kro supplied us with a delicious lamb-stew which went down very well on a cold and rainy night in Manchester!

A thoroughly enjoyable night in which we were able to sample a good range of what both Cooley Distillery and Ireland have to offer. Irish whiskey hasn’t been something I’ve taken much notice of in the past, with only Jamesons and Bushmills my only knowledgable ports of call. But I’ll be looking out for the Kilbeggan Blend as well as the Greenore 8yr which Alex says are widely available in places likes Corks Out.

Next month’s Kro 2 whisky tasting will be hosted by Compass Box who are an independent Scotch whisky company. On offer will be Great King Street, Spice Tree, Hedonism, The Peat Monster and Orangerie. 5 whiskies I’ve never tried, but can’t wait to taste!

Check out Kro’s website here – http://www.kro.co.uk/

You can purchase all of the above Irish whiskeys here – http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/productlist.php?catid=41 or http://www.corksout.com/categories/Spirits/Whisky-%26-Malts/Irish-Whiskey/

Take a look at Cooley Distillery here – http://www.cooleywhiskey.com/