Giving each whiskey (and whisky) I try a final grade, but only after reaching the bottom of the bottle. After all, just one drink is never enough!
Sunday, October 20, 2019
Great King St. by Compass Box Glasgow Blend Blended Scotch
- 86 Proof
I know I've asked this question before to start off a post, but I'll ask it again -- who loves free whiskey?? I do! This bottle was a Christmas gift from last year that I've been (very) slowly working my way through. I haven't exactly been reviewing a lot of Scotches lately (or anything non-American for that matter), so eventually I got to where I made it a point to go in this direction so that I can finally make this post.
I've loved most everything that I've tried from Compass Box, including the Great King St. blends. This one is a blend of an Islay peated whiskey with a sherry-cask matured Speyside Scotch and a lowland whiskey. I've enjoyed the peat and sherry combination in other Scotches, so I was pretty excited to have this bottle placed into my hands.
Of course the peat is the first thing to hit the olfactory senses, with a nice campfire note. However, behind the smoke I got some floral notes as well as a bright berry note, like fresh raspberry. The smoke note is pervasive, however, and it all came together in a kind of sweet barbecue note.
When I took my first sip, I was surprised that the peat smoke was not nearly as strong as the nose had me expecting. It was certainly there, but it did not come anywhere close to overpowering the other delicious flavors in this whiskey.
It had a smooth and rich undercurrent of vanilla that was present from front to back, and seemed to be the flavor that stuck around the longest. I also got some fresh strawberry notes along with a honey note to add a significant amount of sweetness to contrast the smoke.
I found myself smacking my lips after nearly every sip, but thanks to the peat the sweetness was never cloying or overdone. The fact that this only clocked in at 86 proof probably helped avoid a syrupy quality that might otherwise have been there.
That being said, after having had this bottle open, even for a few months, it seemed to develop a more oily body, and the flavors seemed to transform a little bit, just enough to develop some added complexity. What was previously a honey note seemed to come across as more of a butterscotch note. The fruit notes seemed to come across as more of a raspberry-almond note, with just a little bit of amaretto tang to it. And even though the vanilla seemed to lighten up, I instead got notes of chocolate and coffee, which still worked very well with the peat.
Although this isn't my favorite peated Scotch, this blend offered a lot of complexity that had me pondering nearly every sip I took, trying to pinpoint each different note that I was getting. And, for the most part, each flavor seemed to complement all of the others--exactly what a blend is supposed to accomplish.
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