Thanks to Yori for the sample
Compass Box, love or hate them, do some very very interesting things. This time they had some casks of whiskies originally intended for their Oak Cross blend, a blend of Clynelish, Dailuaine and Teaninich matured in refill casks, which after 12 years were put into a series of 16 casks, either virgin American or European oak, all charred to various levels.
Each cask was then bottled after 18 months as a numbered single cask bottling and sent to a different international distributor of Compass Box to be sold in their market. This was all back in 2007 when virgin oak maturation was still quite a new thing. As always Compass Box released a fact sheet full of whisky geekery.
This particular one was distributed to the Italian market. It’s second maturation cask was American oak toasted to level 5 (I’m assuming out of 10).
Aged 13 years. 54.4%ABV. Finished for 18 months in a virgin American oak cask. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask 35.
Nose: Waxy citrus peel. Orange peel spray. Quite Clynelishy. Flowers. Wood spice. Oak chips. Salty toffee. Pumpkin spice. Honey. Gooseberries.
Palate: Big woody notes, bitter wood, woody vanilla, woodspice. Macadamias. Rich citrus. Caramel pudding. Unlit tobacco on the swallow.
Finish: Long. Tingly woodpsice with varnished wood, white pepper and macadamias. Seville oranges. Slightly drying, maybe wood tannins.
Would I buy this: No
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This was a nice one. I tried the Oak Cross a while back and found it good but a little weak and lacking in character. This made up for all of that. It was very complex and the cask strength presentation really let all those little Highland malt nuances. The virgin oak added a pleasant spiciness to it.