Thanks to my wife for this bottle, a birthday present.
At my core, I’m a peat head. Yes, as years have gone by I’ve gone from that guy who loves a strong peated whisky that is super young and brash and powerful to a subtle ex-bourbon cask that takes an hour to dissect.
So I’m a snob, basically.
However that young whisky drinker isn’t completely dead. He still loves peat, strong ass powerful stuff, and crazy drams that make everyone in the room wonder if I’m secretly hiding a campfire in my jacket.
So when Compass Box announced Compass Box No Name, I was excited. The rumours state that it’s older Caol Ila and younger Ardbeg, however I found someone else stating that the Ardbeg is the older part, and really, age isn’t what I’m here for (while I’d love if they were allowed to state it for the nerdy side and to help people understand that age != quality, however I did that rant a few weeks ago and lets move on).
I’m here for a peaty whisky. I enjoyed the 25th Anniversary Blend for that reason: Let’s see how the more traveled malt does, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Components: 75.5% Ardbeg that was aged in a re-charred American standard barrel, 10.6% Caol Ila that was aged in a refill American standard barrel, 13.4% Clynelish that was aged in a re-charred hogshead, and 0.5% highland malt aged in a heavy toast French oak hybrid cask.
The highland malt is 60% aged malt whisky from Clynelish, 20% from Dailuaine, and 20% aged malt whisky from Teaninich.
Colour: 7.5Y 9/8
Nose: Grassy, candied bacon, root beer, sesame seeds, tar, mint
Initial nose is lighter than expected, however given that there’s a bunch of Clynelish in here, I’m not too surprised.
That doesn’t last super long, with big bacon and root beer notes taking over, huge tarry notes, and general big peat young malt that I came here for. Even some nice mint/sesame to balance it all out.
Taste: Burnt rubber, grassy, pear Mojito, caramel, BBQ
Big ole rubber fire!
No, no one remembers that part of a Seinfeld episode from over a decade ago? Okay, let’s move on.
If you’re a fan of cigars, and I’ll not here I’m not, I think this is a dram you’d enjoy. It has that grassy, pear, and smoky mixture. Not super complex, but well built that nothing is fighting with anything else, unlike me and people who decide what Seinfeld memes to remember.
Finish: Bubblegum, mint, pepper steak, saltwater taffy, pepper bacon, dry pear
Light start, and then back to the Caol Ila aspect of the dram. There’s some big saltiness and caramel here. Also for you peat loves there’s tons of meat and pepper going on.
If you’re vegan, it’s a loophole to try dead animal flesh! Wait, that doesn’t sound appetizing? Odd. It’s almost like there’s different people in the world from me.
Conclusion: So the theme of this dram is different drams for different people, if my not so subtle hints haven’t let that show. There’s going to be an initial group of people who will love this dram. You know who you are, the people who go gaga whenever there’s a cask strength Ardbeg, or a new cask strength Laphroaig.
Where does that leave the people who are subtle, who may know the rubber fire joke, who may become vegan due to environmental reasons not taste reasons, who may not fall into that group otherwise? Well those people will find something here too. A deep dive on this dram reveals a grassy note or three, some interesting balancing, and probably one of the best Compass Box Limited editions to come out in awhile.
So there you have it. This was a good pickup for me.
Scotch review #835, Blend review #85, Whisky Network review #1346