Compass Box – Great King Street Artist’s Blend

One of the things I appreciate most about La Maison du Whisky is they are happy to share tasting samples. Naturally these are provided by the distilleries / bottlers / blenders to promote their products. However the opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ is something I welcome – especially when accompanied by insights from someone who really knows his stuff.

So when I tasted two new Compass Box offerings, I had a flashback to our Compass Box trilogy evening from August last year. Which means, you are about to join a wander down memory lane…

Tasting Notes from 21 August 2014

Following our standard approach, we tried ‘blind’ different whiskies before unveiling a theme night of three remarkable blends from Compass Box: Great King Street Artist’s Blend, Spice Tree and The Peat Monster.

Great King Street Artisan's Blend

Great King Street Artist’s Blend, 43%

  • Colour – Very pale
  • Nose – Light citrus lemon, yet sweet not tart, fresh peaches, slightly reminiscent of a Glenmorangie but more delicate and nuanced
  • Palate – Spice burn, slightly bitter with a hint of sea salt. When trying to describe the spice note, seemed like a kaccha (raw) spice that hasn’t been bhuno’ed (cooked) sufficiently… One described as ghat (strong spice)
  • Finish – Fairly limited… definitely not a lingerer…
  • Add water? The spice reduced with the fresh sweet lemon coming back full force!

Our blind verdict? A beautiful young teenager… more of a brunch drink that could be a marvelous base to a delicate creative cocktail. With its freshness, perhaps a whisky mohito?

The unveiling – A delight to try such a carefully crafted blended whisky. Named after Compass Box’s headquarter’s street… the Artist’s Blend brings together mostly Lowland Grain Whisky with Northern Highland and Speyside Single Malts. Throw in first-fill American oak and European oak ex-Sherry butts, toasted French oak and we have something interesting.

Footnote

One of the samples I tried in Singapore June 2015 at La Maison du Whisky was the new Compass Box version of Great King Street – Glasgow Blend. Personally the Glasgow Blend is closer to my preferred whisky style with a bit more character – fuller bodied smokey sweet lovely peat. While I didn’t pick up a bottle of it (much cheaper to acquire in the UK where I’m heading soon), it certainly is one I plan to keep an eye out for future purchases.

Other Compass Box treats sampled:

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Jameson jamboree!

Jameson is a blended whiskey from Ireland that pays attention to the Indian market. Their merry brand ambassadors actually live here, build relationships with night spots to create cosy corners for Jameson events and every once in a while put together Irish evenings with Indian whisky tasting groups.

Our tasting team originally experienced an Irish Night November 2013 with no less than nine whiskies sampled! The lads from Jameson put together a blind comparison between Irish, Scottish and American whiskey plus most of the Jamesons’. We scored the 18 year, Green Spot and Redbreast.

What follows is an extract from that evening’s adventures focused only on the tasting notes for Jameson. For the full version – see the original post on Everyday Adventures in Asia.

Jameson lads with their set-up

Jameson lads with their set-up

Jameson Original NAS 40%

  • Nose – Sweet caramel, apricot and a hint of pine nuts, nutty vanilla
  • Taste – Honey sweet, sherry smooth with cherries and a hint of leather
  • Finish – Nothing much really
  • Water – Just too light… in a word DO NOT add
  • Our verdict? Certainly light and sweet, the kind of whiskey you aren’t adverse to mixing or for some, just knocking back.
  • Additional info – The Jameson lads shared that though no age is stated, typically the Jameson Original contains whisky aged between 5 – 7 years

Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve (Formerly known as Jameson 1780) 40%

  • Nose – Sherry dried fruit, raisins, like an apple pie or crumble
  • Taste – Cherry with the sherry even more pronounced than the Jameson Original, a bit of pine nut
  • Finish – One single note – nothing more. Certainly not the vaunted “warm long finish” however at least it didn’t disappear almost instantly like its “Original” cousin
  • Our verdict? Again, value for money, pleasant, decidedly on the sweet side

Jameson Gold Reserve (uses virgin American oak) 40%

  • Nose – Sweet bourbon style, light
  • Taste – Hint of pepper
  • Finish – Not quite a bourbon finish
  • Our verdict? It is a bit confused… not quite a bourbon yet trying to be… honestly? If you really are in the mood for a bourbon, just get a bourbon! However if you don’t mind a bourbon twist in your Irish whiskey, enjoy!

Jameson 18 yr

Jameson 18 Year Special Reserve 40%

  • Nose – Sweet, creamy, full-bodied
  • Taste – Leathery, overripe peach, scent of rubber, hint of coffee
  • Finish – Warm.. remains and stays… with a slightly woody, bitter kerela finish
  • Our verdict? Certainly the most interesting of the Jameson’s sampled and one heck of a good whiskey. However while it is enjoyable, has tough competition in this pricier bracket

For Irish whiskies tried til date, Yellow Spot is my favourite. However I’m always open to try more!

Check out other whiskies sampled from Ireland:

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