Compass Box: Spice Tree (Scottish Blended Malt Whisky: 46% ABV)
Visual: Copper touched gold.
Viscosity: Very slow thin puckering.
Nose: Honey. Rosemary? (Maybe, been a while since I smelled that). Coriander. Pencil shavings and oak. Light menthol. Turmeric. Crushed nettles. Water brings out twigs and hints of dark berries.
Body: Smooth. Vanilla fudge. Heavy oak. Red berries. Treacle. Nutmeg. Blueberry and blackcurrant come out with water. Spicy grapes. Cherries. More water brings out chocolate toffee.
Finish: Cinnamon and coriander. Dry oak. Blueberry. Water makes spicy red grapes, cracked pepper and malt chocolate.
Conclusion: Ok, either I am stupidly easy to influence, or when they called this Spice Tree they really were not lying. Or possibly both. Anyway, yes, this is spicy, very wide ranging spicy, though thankfully not too high intensity. I am digging hard into my vague memories of the varied spices around to try and match the notes found here.
Neat it is probably a bit too much spice rack, or more correctly, the problem is not the spice but that you can taste the wood from the rack it is in. It is too dry and too oaken which makes the spice seem harsher and gives it no real room to move.
As ever, the clear lifeblood of our planet H2O comes to our rescue. Water lets soft vanilla fudge and red and dark berries come out. The dark berries call to a spicy red wine and the vanilla notes call to a more traditional whisky base – the combination of which gives a more soothing character – something to return to when the spice gets too heavy.
Overall it makes me think of the base idea of a whisky but ramped up to an impressive level of complexity and smoothness. It doesn’t do that much to stand out character wise, it just does it well. It tends towards the more robust Highland malts in my mind. I enjoy it, but it is not one that stands out too much. Maybe it is because I prefer the lighter Speysides or the heavier Islay malts, but still it does what it says on the tin and it does it well.
Background: Compass box have been a good one for Blended whisky and blended malt, so I thought I would give this a try. It comes in those fun test tube looking containers – the shine of the gimmick will probably wear off shortly but for now it still amuses me. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk with a nice bit of atmospheric Godspeed You! Black Emperor.