Compass Box are whiskymakers who craft whisky by blending whiskies from different distilleries and batches, thereby creating unique flavour profiles from what is essentially a concoction of “ingredient” whiskies. This is the art of whisky blending. Blending to create a whisky that matches the blue print in one’s mind is much harder than it sounds or looks (as I learned aboard the Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer!). Trying to unpack a whisky blender’s creation is even harder. To help unravel their complex whiskies, though, Compass Box provide a break down of the “ingredients” that go into each of their whiskies. Trying to piece together the puzzle of a Compass Box whisky by smell and taste is, in my experience, a lot of fun.
The newly released trio of limited edition Compass Box whiskies that sit before me ready to be tasted are Compass Box The Circle, Compass Box Affinity, and Compass Box No Name No. 2.
Grant’s has recently announced that it is “refreshing” its brand with the introduction of new packaging and a new name for its signature blend. The fresh faced Grant’s “Triple Wood” is one of the whiskies in the Grant’s line up to receive a new face lift. Continue reading “Grant’s Triple Wood”→
On first nosing the whisky, it smells cheap. There are lots of vanillas and caramels, and that estery grain note that tends to develop as a distillation run gets into the tail end of hearts and into tails. It is a sweet, light and very well mannered dram. By no means impressive, though; and youngish. Truth be told, I get a lot of new make (newly distilled spirit) from the bouquet of this whisky – an estery grain, in particular.
Sharp, granular, jaggered and rough. The mouth-feel is not even worth mentioning, as the consistency of the whisky feels watery and thin on the palate. The alcohols are there, vaporous and lashing the palate. Behind the assault of alcohol, there is some apple, soft but noticeable peat and chocolate with hints of vanilla and caramel. It strikes me as a very chemical and medicinal tasting dram.
The apple notes remain, with burning alcohols and a deep breath of nail polish.
Don’t bother. This whisky goes from bad to worse; the nose seems to wreak of immaturity, the palate is rough and jaggered and whatever flavours are in the whisky hide behind a veil of sharp alcohol. I just don’t jive with this whisky.
The Johnnie Walker Swing is a blend of whiskies from the Highlands and Speyside region of the mainland of Scotland, and the Isle of Islay.
Soft vanillas, with an aroma that is similar to melting vanilla ice cream, fill the glass. Mild notes of grass and hay – which seem to be flickers of the peat influence in this whisky – sit beneath shades of fruit; find orange zest, apple cores and a backbone of sherry. Impressive.
Smooth and full of flavour, the whisky has a lovely mouth-feel that is slightly viscous. The taste of soft peat sits beneath buttery shortbread and almond croissant. There is wave after wave of orange zest, vanilla, cream, chocolate, coffee beans, wood and butter. It is sweet and teases, ever so gently, with Islay peat and the mild spray of salt. The peat seems to increasingly get more noticeable with each dram.
The finish presents with the aftertaste of avocado, as it leaves a fatty and oily film on the palate. The oak come out more, as the taste of wood and dark chocolate merges with cracked coffee beans. Oyster shells, just removed from a bed of rock salt, lingers.
Buy it! Johnnie Walker Swing is full of flavour and yet extremely smooth and quaffable. Its price, whether you are in the United States or Australia, is very reasonable for a whisky of this quality – there is no semblance of overly immature whisky as far as I can tell; a far cry from other no age statement whisky on the market.