Anyone who reads our blog regularly will know that we are huge fans of Compass Box. Not only do they make blending cool, they’re not afraid to try new things and the whiskies they do craft together are some of the finest around. One of the gems in their range is the Great King St Artists blend that we reviewed some time ago. Well now they have some experimental releases out; one sherried and one smokey and in a stroke of genius they’re asking the public to decide which should make it as a permanent release. It’s a bit like XFactor for grown ups really. And better.
Now before we get into the new releases we should really try another version of Great King St; one that we were sent a while ago if we’re honest, but one that will help us get into the spirit of things for the new offerings. We present to you Great King St – New York Blend.
Great King St – New York Blend 46%
This whisky was bottled in August 2012 and was created specifically for the American market. It was a release of 1840 bottles and it contains a high proportion of malts from Islay, the Highlands and Speyside. Around 25% of the whiskies within it are heavily peated making it the Artist’s Blend older brother!
Nose: Christmas cake, lots of toffee, green apples. After time the whisky also becomes slightly grassy
Palate: Very sweet – think fudge, caramel and Krispy Kreme donuts. The spices then kick in; lots of black pepper and an undertone of smoke and peat before it becomes more floral with some maple providing some lasting sweetness
Finish: A gorgeous dessert mix of vanilla custard with cardamom seeds
Next on our list was Experimental – 00-V4 or the ‘sherried one’ as its known. This is a limited release of 3439 bottles and is crafted to display the fruitier side of Great King St.
Great King St Experimental – 00-V4 46%
Nose: Incredibly fruity and peachy, obviously there is the sherry influence coming through – although it is in a very earthy way. Finally we found some Jamaican ginger cake and strawberry candy cane
Palate: A touch of heat to start, followed by a lot of vanilla and white chocolate. We then found some orange Opal Fruits mixed with plums and a well balanced spiciness
Finish: A long and drying spirit
Next on the table was batch TR-06 – the ‘smokey’ one. This is a slightly larger release of 3805 bottles and one I was particularly looking forward too, as I love all things smokey!
Great King St Experimental – TR-06 46%
Nose: Full of dried peat and vanilla. We found a little smoke but were predominately reminded of candied orange (slightly burnt) and breadsticks
Palate: Gentle to start with lots of smoke wisps, but these build into a lovely creamy and white pepper explosion. It reminded us of a lovely sweet and mild Caol Ila and took us right back to Islay
Finish: Fading smoke and pepper
So there you have it; two great new release from Compass Box. Both are very affordable coming in at £32 for 50cl and both are lovely. Mike preferred the sherry option, while I would go for the smoke bottling! And therein lies the beauty of these bottles – you don’t have to decide yet; the chosen bottle will be released in 2014. However, we’d like to suggest something else to you – why not buy both and try mixing them too! We did this with the end of our samples and were pretty pleased with the results. We present to you the LivingRoom blend (well, we just mixed them 50/50 if we’re honest!)
Great King St Experimental – Birmingham Batch 46%
Nose: Strong blasts of sherry drowning out the smoke, some strong pepper notes
Palate: Nice mix of flavour – some strong peach liqueur mixed in with chilli heat
Finish: Long and fruity