F&F Whisky Review #002 - Compass Box Spice Tree

F&F Whisky Review #002 - Compass Box Spice Tree

John Glaser announced recently he decided to step down from his executive role in Compass Box, a scotch whisky company he started back in the early 2000s.

The reason this is significant is because Mr Glaser is arguably one of the most influential whiskymakers of the 21st Century for both advocating and rejuvenating a scotch whisky category that is better known for value than quality as well as pushing the then perceived bounderies of transparency (or lack thereof) and innovation in whiskymaking.

There is creativity at the forefront of all that is made at Compass Box, with science and art combined to bring new expressions of blended whisky to a public that has alway been more favourable to the single malts category.

To help rediscover the joys of blended whisky the process starts with sourcing high quality malt and grain whiskies as well as casks and then blending and further maturing the blends so all the components marry and mingle harmoniously.

Many Compass Box releases have achieved previously unthinkable high scores for blended whiskies, including being selected on Whisky Advocate's Top 20 lists several times, notably with 'No Name No..3', 'The Peat Monster' or 'Spice Tree Extravaganza'.

The Spice Tree

Born in 2005, this blend from Compass Box became notorious for being further matured in casks containing additional flat French oak inserts (aka oak staves) in its production which led the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) to issue a threat of legal action as this contravened the then prevailing scotch whisky making regulations.

Undeterred, Compass Box redesigned their casks now with toasted French oak heads to replicate the results obtained using the staves, but in a way that was 'allowed' within the SWA regulations.

So what's it like?

Nose - Barley creaminess and honey. Vanilla infused porridge, baked apple, creme brulee and banana bread with clove and cinnamon dustings. A faint parma violet note whispers from the background.

Palate - Starts gently with rich creamy pastries, rice pudding topped with flaked almonds. It then grows to richer flavours of banoffee and pecan pie, cracked walnuts and crystallised ginger alongside dark cocoa.

Finish - Long with waves of cereal, honey, apple turnovers and pecan nuts, with fading embers and faint old wood smoke.

Overall - This blend is a a remarkable showcase of great whikymaking. Galaxies apart from the mass produced blends found in most supermarkets and pubs up and down the country, this is Scotch Whisky for whisky lovers that want to enjoy intense aromas and savour rich flavours.

We have the Spice Tree available to taste in our shop so be sure to ask for a sample on your next visit.


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