Next in our Compass Box quartet explorations was a true conversation starter… every element had something different to deliver.
- Nose – Did this whisky really start off with a faint whiff of eau du detergent?? Then apple juice, slightly sour… however the aromas were exceedingly shy… taking effort to tease out… A bit of talcum powder, then finally as it began to open up some light spice, coffee, vanilla custard, toffee
- Palate – Holy toledo! What a contrast. An absolutely awesome whisky… so smooth on the tongue almost soft initially then explodes into spicy sweetness… fruity, cracked black pepper, all in a velvety coating with a puff of smoke
- Finish – Deceptive… highly deceptive… as it is very long yet at a whisper not a roaring spice
There was no mistaking this is a complicated and contradictory whisky – a nose which is almost elusive in character initially. Then a palate that made an extraordinary arc from subtle and nuanced to needle sharp spice. Even the finish provoked a debate – some suggesting it was remarkable by its absence and equally strong opinions it was there if only one tuned in to its quiet frequency.
Well named and well constructed to be discordant yet harmonious too.
And what do the folks at Compass Box have to say?
We’d long been working on a blend of single malts that combines seemingly dissonant flavour profiles, but together creates something compelling. We landed on a recipe that elicited a surprising range of reactions and descriptions, each person taking away something different from the whisky.
Rather than try to settle on whose perceptions were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, we were inspired by the phenomenological school of thought to consider how different people experience the same phenomenon.
Flavour Descriptors Aromas and flavours reminiscent of berry fruits, baked apples and hints of banana, with a delicate peaty-smokiness that follows and resonates in the long finish.
Recommendations This is an ideal whisky for sipping and contemplating on its own, or with a splash of water or an ice cube which will reveal subtle complexities.
BMC’s Compass Box Quartet:
- Whisky de Table 40%
- The Double Single 46%
- Phenomenology 46% (Whisky Ladies tasting)
- No Name 48.9%
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A great and very interesting read as always. I only had one dram of Phenomenology so far, towards the end of a whisky fair. Since I had more than a dozen whiskies before, I fear I cannot say much about Compass Box’s latest offering other than the fact that I (distantly) remember liking it a lot. 😉
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This would be exactly why I skipped at the last Whisky Live in Singapore and was delighted to have time to slow down with it here in Mumbai. Definitely one that needs the right environment to simply experience and come to your own conclusion or debate with others! 🙂
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I’ve always said that Whisky and philosophy are made for each other. And if you had come across my WhatsApp statement you know what I mean!!
See you on 17/18th!!
Well said! And yes – looking forward!!