Compass Box, a Scotch whisky blending house located in London began its journey in 2000. It is the brainchild of John Glaser who believe that scotch blending should have a forward thinking approach and that it should be more creative.
This past Saturday we got a chance to meet and talk to Compass Box Whiskymaker Jill Boyd. Now if you are sitting there scratching your head wondering what a whiskymaker is, I’ll tell you. A whiskymaker is very different than a distiller and they do a lot more than simply blend whiskies. They follow their intuition to blend, experiment and create new tasting profiles never done before.
For this tasting experience, Jill took us through her Compass Box journey and shared the stories of the whiskies we got a chance to sample: Hedonism, Spaniard, Myth & Legends I, Myth & Legends II, Myth & Legends III, The Circle, No Name No. 2, Stranger & Stranger and Peat Monster.
Two questions I asked Jill:
Do you have a favorite (from the lot we tasted that evening)? Although she loves all of them, she did say, “Biased, biased, biased, I really love No Name No. 2. I don’t get to drink whisky like that very often. It’s really nice to taste something that is complicated and beautiful, and I made it, so I am very biased.”
How do you feel being a woman whisky blender? “Super good! I am in an incredible fortunate position that I never ever had any issues with like my job and roll. The biggest problem being a woman whisky blender is the fact that I think I am doing something wrong. It’s this imposter syndrome that you are doing well but you don’t believe it.”
My first introduction to this brand was with their Great King St. Artist Blend. It’s a whisky I thoroughly enjoyed. The night of the tasting it was hard for me to pick a favorite, but I ultimately did purchase a bottle of the one I enjoyed the most and that happened to be Myth & Legends I.
Myth & Legends I lead whiskymakers were Jill Boyd and James Saxon. It is a limited edition, and this was the first bottle of three in the series. This particular bottle is composed by three Balblair whiskies, two are ages 15, 16 matured in recharred American oak and one age 22 years in first fill bourbon barrels.
Nose: vanilla, apples
Palate: chocolate, vanilla, citrus, malt and spices
Finish: fruit with lingering notes of vanilla
Cost: $150-$160 (depending on where you buy)
Out of all the ones we tried this night I felt this was one of the lighter whiskies. It was full of flavor and was simply unforgettable. It was the third whisky we tried and by the ninth sample this was still the one I remember the most. It’s complex, creamy, light and very aromatic. It is also very smooth, and the citrus notes help provide a nice clean crispness to the dram.
Everyone that attended this evening seemed to have liked a different bottle for very different reasons. So, I can tell you for sure that they have something for everyone in their range.
Compass Box is creating unique blends that will appeal to a wide range of people. This is what makes what they are doing very special. When I first started drinking Scotch, blended whiskies didn’t have the best reputation. They have evolved within time and will simply continue to get better.
Note: The contents on my blog are solely my opinion. To me every palate is different! Although I may or may not like a product, I always recommend for people to try it and make up their own minds.