Compass Box: The Circus (Scottish Blended Whisky: 49% ABV)
Visual: Bronzed gold.
Viscosity: Mostly fast, thick streaks.
Nose: Heather. Potpourri. Treacle. Stewed apricot. Thick. Heavy honey. Water – white chocolate and grain husks.
Body: Toffee and treacle. Glacier cherries. Warming alcohol. Gin. Dried apricot. Sugar shell coating. Water makes very smooth. Caramel and fudge. Sweet lime. Kiwi. Blueberry. Sweet pastry.
Finish: Juniper berries. Oak. White grapes. Chocolate to choc orange. Water makes kiwi and lime yogurt. Pear drops. Blueberries. Cheesecake base. Light aniseed comes out with more water.
Conclusion: A tale of two whiskies time again, though not as divergent as usual. As you may have guessed from that, this is a whisky that is quite, quite different with and without water.
Neat it feels kind of highland whisky like – a quite thick texture and aroma – ruggedly sweet with treacle and stewed fruit. Pretty smooth, warming but not burning – but a fairly standard whisky, and nowhere near what would be expected at the price point.
Water makes it so much more, more speyside like fruity, but before that the thick heavy sweetness melts into delicious fudge and caramel smooth notes. These then melt into the background as a cavalcade (or possibly cornucopia) of dessert sweet fruit notes come out. Even sweet lime and kiwi notes that mix with everything else to give key lime pie impressions, to blueberry and blueberry pie styling. There is light and dark fruit, but all sugared and wrapped in pastry, or layered over a cheesecake base. There is probably more hiding in there from the feel of it, but I think I would have to shell out on a bottle to examine it to find the full range. Tempting, even though it is absurdly expensive.
The downsides? Well neat it shows little of its charm, and with too much water a very small touch of aniseed comes out, which is not to my liking. In general though, as long as you add water this is an utter luxury. In fact probably the best blended whisky I have ever tried. It is so very good.
Background: The final of the samples provided by Independent Spirit for me to do tasting notes on, and it is a doozie. Many thanks. A mix of two already blended whiskys, a blended grain, and a sherry cask Benrinnies. According to Compass Box, even they don’t know the exact nature of the blended components. It was fairly warm when I tries this, so I left the computer that I play my music on off, so this was contemplate in silence.