Manchester Whisky Club Review – March

Manchester Whisky Club

March is nearly at an end, and last night we could say the same for the third instalment of Manchester Whisky Club. Catering for those who want to meet up regularly for a chat with like-minded whisky fans, and a couple of drams to of course chat over.

Held at the Lass O’Gowrie, the third meeting had a theme compared to last months Tomatin led evening. Club founder Andy brought along with him 5 blends to do battle in the aptly named ‘Battle of the Blends’.

I too brought with me two more blends in the form of Monkey Shoulder and Chivas Regal 12yr. So without further a do, lets see how they all fared –

Monkey Shoulder – 40%

Soft fruit nose with hints of citrus and vanilla. Smooth on the palate with a slight spice lingering. Sweet toffee flavours mix with the vanilla nicely to create a long finish.

Chivas Regal 12yr – 40%

Punch of fruit and honey on the nose with lots of fresh notes. Well rounded fruit and nut flavours on the palate, with a slight spice lingering near the end. A very long finish that warms.

Manchester Whisky Club
Manchester Whisky Club

Tweeddale 12yr – 46%

Light notes of vanilla and toffee on the nose, with the palate a heavier wood and herbal blend, although lightens off near the end. Hints of spice and salt linger.

Black Bull 12yr – 50%

Sweet aromas of sherry and molasses, with hints of fruit following. The palate enjoys a kick at the start, with treacle and green fruit flavours creating a lingering after-taste. Slight dry spice also.

Compass Box Spice Tree – 46%

Fruit aromas on the nose with a rich, spicy flavour igniting the palate that evolves into a lively well-rounded after-taste.

Sheep Dip – 41.8%

Toffee and chocolate powder aromas on the nose with an underlying sweetness that develops. Rather smooth and soft on the palate with a slight kick near the end of marshmallow. Short.

Feárr Cuideachd – 40%

Our very own Manchester Whisky Club blend from Whisky Blender. Strong, sharp nose of green fruit that carries over onto the palate. A slight spice with an herbal flavour coming through. Lingering finish.

A rather delightful collection showcased, with the Black Bull 12yr being a surprise favourite for me. Great to try the Monkey Shoulder, Compass Box and Chivas Regal again, as well as the workings of the Whisky Blender. 

Next month will be the ‘Old and Rare’ evening where according to Andy, we will ‘crack out the history books and look at some more mature and rare bottlings over the course of the evening’.

Join Manchester Whisky Club here or follow them on Twitter at @MCRWhiskyClub and Facebook.

Check out the rest of the photos of the first meet via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.

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.