There aren’t too many companies like Compass Box. I think of them as being on the cutting edge of whisky. Always experimenting and poking at the rules. Trying to push it into the future. As a result they’ve received some harsh rebukes and sanctions but I guess that’s what happens when you push the limits. As for this particular expression from Compass Box, it’s a special batch of a special idea. The original Hedonism was one of the first blended grain whiskies to push into the luxury market. I guess the name kind of gives that away a bit. Some people are dead against grain or simply unimpressed, but I think there are some notable exceptions. Hedonism is one of them. The Quindecimus is their special batch produced for their 15th Anniversary. For their 10th they had the Maximus. You can kind of see a trend in the naming. While the makeup of blends is typically guarded more closely than nuclear launch codes, Compass Box have revealed all in typical compass Box fashion.
Here it goes (from the Whisky Exchange Blog):
- 17.6% North British 20yo from first-fill American standard barrels
- 36.6% Port Dundas 25yo from rejuvenated hogsheads
- 8.4% Dumbarton 28yo from American standard barrels
- 19.4% Port Dundas 20yo from first-fill American standard barrels
- 18% 32yo Loch Lomond mystery blended grain from American standard barrels
Oooh ahhhhh.. Whisky recipes! Anyway before I get on with the tasting notes, I’d like to give credit to the main dudes at Compass Box, John Glaser and Gregg Glass. John Glaser obviously being the founder and captain of the ship and Gregg Glass doing some real legwork. We met Gregg Glass at a special Water of Life Society tasting in 2014. He’s a cool guy with a passion for his craft. Props to that.
Bottler: Compass Box
Type: Blended Grain
Price: ~£130 (£128.00 at Master of Malt)
Toffee, cream and short bread. A kind of tangy spirity note that’s kind of savoury. Almost like a MacDonald’s cheeseburger fresh out of the waxed paper, oddly enough. Reminds me of eating a cheeseburger with a vanilla milk shake or MacDonald’s ice cream cone. Oily. Starbucks bottled coffee frappuccinos.
Smooth sweet caramel and fudge on vanilla bean ice cream. Amaretto. Very creamy. Stracciatella ice cream. Notes of chocolate like the kind they use on ice cream sundays. Iced coffee. Still a bit spirity.
Some citrusy notes like kumquats. Stone fruits. A bit of bitter oak. Coffee candies.
I should preface this by saying I only had a very small amount of this. Perhaps 7ml. Miniscule. I would have very much liked to have much more of this but alas it was not to be. That being said this is quite an interesting dram. There are a lot of flavours there that I don’t usually encounter in whisky which is refreshing. It was a bit light and spirity but there was something going on in there that made me want to chase. I am not sure I would pay the hefty ~£130 for a bottle to drink but I think it’s pretty clear from the packaging that this is more a “collector’s” whisky. I know there’s a bit of uproar about the “collector” trends right now but hey it’s happening regardless of the criticism and there are other drams to drink. It sure does have a pretty bottle and svelte case.
Apple pie, vanilla enas, fresh cut grass and a painter’s cutboard.
Coffee liqueur. Vanilla, fresh pears, victoria sponge cake and a dash of cinnamon.
Lingering coffee notes.
A nice dram. Original and intriguing. A nice blend of flavours while remaining delicate and flirtatious.