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One of the first high end bottles i bought for my home bar, was this limited edition from Compass Box, a very good looking bottle called "This is Not a Luxury Whisky".
Of course, the name and the whole concept of the bottle comes from an artistic background, as most Compass Box do. In the late 1920s, a famous belgian painter called René Magritte painted a pipe, and underneath the pipe he wrote: "this is not a pipe". The surrealistic meaning of the artwork was clear, to say it was not a pipe, when it clearly was a painting of a pipe. The same concept is applied here, stating that this is not a Luxury whisky, will make it most definitively a luxurious one.
Bottled at 53.1%abv, it has a beautiful golden color that can't be appreciated while in the bottle, because the decanter is black.
On the nose, it is near perfect. Orange peels, tangerine and tobacco leaf. Burnt gray grass, white chocolate and coconut Cream. After a while breathing, it released lemon peel, meringue. There is a very unmistakable note of white Ritter chocolate with almonds. Cigarrettes.
The palate is very peaty. Super unexpected. Tobacco and ashes. Salt and maritime notes. A second sip gave me a fancy, thick bodied vanilla. Oily. Orange acidity on the second sip. Sulphur; metallic. Creamy and acid.
Aftertaste is wonderfully peaty as well. Salt; maritime kelp, ashes. It is actually super salty. A wet ashtray and cigarrettes.
Overall this was a complete surprised. I have drank a lot of expressions from Compass Box and i expect some peatiness out of them, but this is really three steps above any other release. In a blind tasting, i would never have guessed this one as a CB for two reasons, you can't find that typical "Glen Elgin - Clynelish" profile they often use; and, it resembles more to a single malt than to a blended scotch. I actually would have made a wild guess and said that this is the rare Mackinlay Shackleton old highland malt, (the Whyte & Mackay replica made by Richard Patterson), because it has this old, grassy tobacco peat note. Outstanding whisky really, my score for it is a very well deserved 95 out of a 100.
Nose: Sweet creamy vanilla with some trace amounts of baking spice and a the faintest hoppiness.
Palate: Salty, creamy, more of that hop character mixes with a pine like note as well.
Finish: a bit more buttery on the finish with a oily mouthfeel that tends to linger a while.
January 23, 2020 (edited September 15, 2020)
4.75 out of 5 stars
Nose- bananas, apricot, ripe apples, brown sugar, gentle smoke, honey, dates
Palate- Mushy bananas, brown sugar, figs, honey, black pepper, light peat smoke, sweet sherry
Finish- Long, oily finish that coats the mouth and tongue with notes of berries, charred wood, and black pepper
Mmm mmm mmm. This is my first experience with Compass box, and i’m impressed. Overall, super complex on the nose, palate and finish. Oily and stings the tongue throughout, with a finish that seems to last forever. Every time I nose and drink this, I keep getting new flavors, and some that I can’t quite place. Very enjoyable dram that is in your face and has wonderful, bold flavors.
September 21, 2019 (edited September 23, 2019)
5.0 out of 5 stars
My favorite compass Box to date. Strong on the sherry side with notes of chocolate, nuts, toffee, and cherries alongside some grain notes of toffee, pepper, coconut, and citrus with smoke from caol ila. Would love to try circus and general if I ever get the chance to do so.
We shall get the jazz out of the way. This is possibly my favorite compass box bottle design of all time. The simple gold marker on a black nearly but not opaque glass. The cheap box with the rather nice use of gold foil, the inner lining of the box making more snide remarks. It's just perfect. The whisky goes on to play with the chidlish "malt" drinkers who feel some kind of superiority for malt over grains...most of whom have never had quality aged grain whisky. It's a near perfect slap to the face of the snobbery of whisky's past. All and all cheers on a quality product without the stupidity!
OK on to the nose. This is starting on its way to being sherry bomb territory. Spices, dark fruits, underlying custard and vanilla. You can get just on the nose oils and a touch of waxy notes, I'm down right shocked this isn't a clynelish blend, it checks all their traditional boxes. Though I certainly am not surprised that there's Caol Ila here.
On the pallet the waxy fruity oily notes shine through. There's a complex sweetness overlapped in baking spices. Perhaps some notes of corn candy which I could see turning a few away, but it quickly builds back up to those fruity sherry notes that everyone buying this bottle I'd hope were coming for.
The finish is long, spicy, and savory with a long underlying candy sweatness.
Another just outstanding bottle from Compassbox. I was lucky to find a dusty bottle still in the wild. This bottle very much holds up with some of John's much more expensive bottles. Completely worth it and the marketing jabs just add to the fun. Imagine someone drinking this and still thinking grain whisky is somehow inferior...blasphemy to the highest order.