I hadn’t made my monthly stops for a while now due to covid restrictions with most of my existing reserves depleting, some just fumes. This led to a less than regular run to the local liquor store, with the desire to pick up something unusual though not necessarily unique. And what caught my eye was a Spanish inspired pour, one that was born from a brief rendezvous John Glaser had with an older gentleman while in Spain.
Compass Box has been notoriously known for its transparency, the lack of it being one of the reasons why John Glaser parted ways and started his own distillery. John had a penchancy for blending, and it all started as a hobby, blending different malts at the comfort of his home. He often took advantage of his time at Diageo, working then as a product manager, pairing with Maureen Robinson (Master blender at Diageo) and later Jim Beveridge, fueling this fervour for blending. And it was this hobby and love for whisky that propelled him to start his own, giving blended malts that much neeeded extra juice, putting them on the map!
The “Story of the Spainard” comes in a lovely colourful box with a very vintage spanish backdrop, and housed inside is the traditional mildly tapered bottling that most expressions from the distiller commonly share. This Highland blended malt is made of spirits in and around Aberlour, Longmorn, Doune and Alness. And made from malts that are matured in a combination of American ex-bourbon, European and French Oak barrels, some of which that have previously housed Spanish Sherry and Red wines. Once vatted, the blend is further matured in custom french oaks to ensure they are married well.
Eye: Deep Copper | Natural colouring, No chill filteration
Nose: Brown sugar, raisins and the sweetness of butterscotch is accompanied by a tinge of earthiness. Some dark chocolate and sherry are infused with coconuts, plums and poached pear only to be subtly dismissed by an earthy, savoury undertone. Some spice, like that of ginger, cinnamon and a sprinkle of pepper finally meets the nose towards the end.
Taste: Crisp and sweet, almost like caramel pudding paired with sultanas, peaches and pear. Wine like, with flavours from red grapes and cherries making a highlight. Mild hints of cantaloupe are accompanied by a lovely spice with hints of ginger.
Finish: Medium | Caramel syrup with raisins alongside a warm spicy feel.
The Spaniard as you might have guessed comes with no shortage of sherried and red wine influences. The sweetness is counterbalanced with bits of savoury and ginger-cinnamon like spicy undertones that give the overall package a frolic to the senses. Every element in this blend has been well defined, orchestrated and harmoniously infused.
For a relatively mid-tier whisky it boasts of a bouquet of flavours with oomphs of character and balance. Sweet and smooth, lush and viscous but still quite restrained, this expression from Compass Box is robust and such a lovely pour.
Preference: Just lovely as is – Neat. I do not however see any issues if you were to dilute it with a teaspoon of water.