Compass Box Hedonism
It is companies like Compass Box that show anti-blend snobbery up as nonsense. A well-made blend can encapsulate a world of flavour, constrained only really by the Master Blender's imagination. If you are not familiar with the legend that is Richard Paterson (aka 'The Nose') watch this video. I will be looking more at him in a later article on Dalmore but this will give you an insight into the passion that goes into the art of blending. I don't endorse throwing Scotch on the carpet like he does, but who am I to argue?
Compass Box is the brainchild of John Glaser who decided that the Scotch whisky scene was saturated with companies doing exactly the same thing. He wanted to change this. Starting in his kitchen he started his blending house with the notion of injecting creativity and passion into every bottle he crafted. I agree with all of the core beliefs of this company, which I unashamedly reproduce here: Blending is a platform for creativity; good oak rules; good whisky doesn't need age statements; whisky should be its natural colour and be non-chill filtered; there are no rules to enjoying whisky.
While I may wince when I pour a nice scotch and am asked for a coke in it (in fact, at this point I generally reach for the JD and another glass), if that is how somebody wants to drink their own single malt - go on, says I! I find myself agreeing more and more with the note on age statements - exceptional whisky is exceptional whether it is 10 or 30 years old.
Hedonism is produced once per year when the requisite rare and old casks of grain whisky can be sourced. The various casks are mixed and left to marry in casks for up to 24 months to marry together, allowing the flavours to properly intermingle and fuse to create the final blend. My thoughts:
Appearance: Pale Gold
Nose: Sweet citrus with green apple sharpness for balance; fresh cut grass notes come through delicately. This just smells like a fruit salad on a warm summers day!
Taste: Demerara sweetness with light cereal notes and vanilla. The sugary sweetness develops into a rich toffee. Fruit is still there but comes in reasonably late when the other flavours are fading out.
Finish: Buttery smooth with a hint of peppery spice at the back of the palate.
I really want to try more of the compass box range - I had heard nothing but good things but even then this took me by surprise. Hedonism is a brilliant name for a whisky that is this good! Forget about the pursuit of pleasure - I'm telling you now, it’s in this dram!