Compass Box Great King Street Artist's Blend

Compass Box: Great King Street: Artist’s Blend (Scottish Blended Whisky: No Age Statement: 43% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow. Becomes cloudy with water.

Viscosity: Quite slow but thick streaks.

Nose: Baileys. Lemon cream. Toffee liqueurs. Pencil shavings.

Body: Very smooth. Vanilla toffee. Custard. Light alcohol tingle. Key lime pie. Light oak. Water smoothes more, but still a slight thickness to the texture. More key lime pie comes out.

Finish: Dry oak. Drying overall. Water adds lime touch and a tingle. Malt chocolate and toffee.

Conclusion: You really can make a very smooth whisky with blended malt (and since it turns out I was wrong and this is a blended whisky with grain, you can with any blending it seems) – and this whisky really seems to be seeing how far it can push that concept. There are nearly no rough edges to it at all. In fact the creaminess and sweetness brings in an almost cream liqueur style to the whole proceedings. This is most evident up front with a smooth baileys style character, but on top of that a sweet toffee liqueur element keeps popping up throughout and re-emphasises the original impressions.

The more traditional whisky character seems to lie underneath those really creamy notes. Because so much of the whisky is filled with creamy lemon and sweet custard notes I was actually relieved to see the brighter green fruit whisky notes poke out from underneath. You know, just showing some stable whisky base character.

Now, the finish is probably the only element in this where it lets its creamy liqueur and dessert whisky imagery down. There are some secondary notes to it, but generally the finish is quite simple, dry and oaken. A pity considering the class shown by the rest of the whisky.

Water isn’t much needed, which seems to be common amongst the vatted malts, but suprises me for a whisky with grain which usually benefit from it – though if you do use water then you do get a bit more emphasis of the more traditional whisky notes and it dims down the creaminess a bit. Both are good, so it is just drinkers preference there.

Overall it is very nice, very different and definitely shows how to use vatted malt (ooops – blended whisky – still shows how to do a much maligned style right) in contrast to the single malts and offers a very smooth and very worthy experience.

Background: I have been meaning to get around to a Compass Box tasting notes for ages. I’d seen these at the back of Brewdog Bristol so asked for advice on what they were like. After this I decided to try this, which had been recommended as the lighter and smoother of the two. Thanks for the info!

I initially thought this was a blended malt whisky, but my mistake has been pointed out – the notes have been edited to update with the correct info. Many Thanks. (I still think blended malt should be called vatted malt whisky, but then again I still hold that the term Hacker has shifted far from what I would hold to be correct usage so I may be a bit of a linguistic dinosaur.)

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