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This is not a luxury whisky – 2015 – 53,1% – Compass Box

Here is from one hand a beautiful tribute to René Magritte, but also the way to launch the debate upon the way we should consider the old and expensive whiskies. What matters here, in this blend, is what’s inside the bottle. On the label, we know it’s made of some Glen Ord 19 years old matured in Sherry casks, some old grains like Strathclyde or Girvan (40 years old), and some Caol Ila 30 years old… A nice mix, but uneasy to balance… Converted try?

this-is-not-a-luxury-whiskyNose: richly rounded, quite savory and most fine. We begin by a lovely forest stroll, taking a whiff of the rich undergrowth: humid wood, ferns, humus and fungus all woven with a lavish chlorophyll freshness. At the edge of the woods, we stumble upon a spreading meadow where malt, rye and corn mingle: a rare sight but fiercely efficient. Nothing better than a meal after a midday hike. Today, spice is on the menu. Pepper fragrances, fenugreek, ginger and anise tickle our senses. We end as should be with a satisfying desert: cherry clafoutis topped with vanilla ice cream, a hint of whipped cream and an ounce of chestnut cream; all while seated in an old, freshly varnished wooden armchair.

Mouth: Powerful, upholstering. Peat, although almost nonexistent at first breath, is a lot more present in mouth, delivering a truly fresh side with smoke, eucalyptus and liquorice tones. The second wave brings a sliver of consistency, with heather honey, a dash of of brown sugar or even stevia. We follow up on some delicacies, savoring one after the other, orangettes, hazelnut chocolate, a pistachio chocolate or even our famous cherry clafoutis. The smoke still swirls amidst the rest. It’s simply delicious. The last part of the mouth is slightly more ascetic, with spicier and saltier pitches (turmeric and cinnamon).

Finish: Very, very, long and intense, bringing forth malted and spicy accents. The red berries are still there, but toned down. The smoke is still in the game, bringing from time to time a hint of minted eddies.

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