Blending feels like a word that has still not quite managed to release itself from the grip of a checkered history. When you say the blend, to some people this word is synonymous with cheap spirits, bundled together to keep costs down and largely drunk as a way of making fizzy drink alcoholic.
However it is becoming my opinion, that as interesting single malt becomes more expensive and harder to get hold of there will be a bigger role to play for independent bottlers and independent blenders. They will be the people who create quality whisky, but at affordable prices.
It is odd to say this, but I do not remember drinking a bad blend. This is probably because I have stuck mostly to single malts since starting this hobby. You could also argue that this is because I have been spoilt. I have been guided through the world of whisky so far by people who know far more than I will ever know, which has led me to only making a few duff purchases.
Having said all that, today’s review is a new limited edition blend called Circus, which is produced by independent distillers, Compass Box. This is by no means a cheap blend, in fact it is more expensive than any bottle I have ever purchased. I am only lucky enough to try it through the generosity of the producer. This is a whisky shrouded in mystery, made from single Malt, single grain and two long aged, but still unknown whisky blends.
Cost: £180 – £200
Appearance: A rich golden yellow, like a setting warm sun.
Aroma: Big zesty fruit of orange, sweetness of raisin and creamy, rich full fat milk.
Taste: Here at the start there are really fruity, sweet notes. Firstly there is the sweetness of maraschino cherries, nuttiness of almond and again an orange. This part of the whisky drinks to me like a whisky cocktail. There is the depth and warmth of a great single malt, with the fruit and zest of the mixers. Immediately, I am thrust into the nighttime air, sharing jokes and laughs with friends.
As the middle approaches, the sweetness gives way to a numbing, building, warming spice. It is dark and wooden, there is heat like chilli or ainiseed. There are also herby notes, like sage. This moves me on to a different part of the night out, the meal. The spices and warmth of Moroccan cooking.
As these notes build, they evolve and sit on the roof of the mouth. There is a finish that combines buttery notes, spicy oak and zesty lemon. This is the part of the night, when you realise you are just lucky to be there. Perfectly enjoying the moment.
Mouthfeel: Delicately spiced and fruited.
Overall: If this whisky were a character in the circus who would it be? It would be a well aged, but friendly clown, as it is youthful and fun, yet full of the depth of age.
We would love to encourage you to buy this bottle (If you can even get hold of it), as it is such an expensive bottle as we enjoyed it greatly, but it is rare and very expensive. I guess ultimately if you are happy to pay for an experience you will never get again, then this bottle will feel like great value. If you are looking to buy on a budget, then look at the other Compass Box gems that you can pick up at a much cheaper price.
Real Dram Factor: 8.0
Source: Sample provided by Compass Box
More Information: Compass Box Website
Buy Online: SOLD OUT – Master of Malt – £185.00
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