Compass Box – Hedonism Quindecimus 46%

Up first in our latest exploration of Compass Box was Hedonism… But no ordinary edition… this was Quindecimus – their 15th anniversary special limited edition. It has an absolutely lush gorgeous label that simply screams nuance, complexity with a vintage feminine vibe.

Our host did his homework and knew this blended grain would take some coaxing and time to unfold… so he poured our glasses a half hour before we sat to start tasting.

We sampled it completely blind… and what did we think?

Hedonism Quindecimus 5689 46%

  • Nose – Started with soft caramel, light butterscotch, lemon, a bit astringent, sticky glue, wet grass, touch of kumquat, vanilla, sandalwood, a medicinal hint…
    • After the 1st sip some hazelnut, sweet grass joined, honey came increasingly to the fore, bread pudding and custard, with loads of butterscotch
    • Even more time and it took on such a lovely desert with cream and that fabulous butterscotch again
  • Palate – Citrus sweet… on the next sip there was chilli joining the sweet
  • Finish – Oddly flat and a bitter
  • Water – A mixed response – found it made it even more flat and left a bit awkward finish, others thought it added more character, with sweet and sour on the palate and a strong coconut quality

We set it aside and moved on to the other whiskies of the evening….

When we returned to it it, it was pure butterscotch, coconut on the aromas… however the palate and finish simply didn’t live up to the promise of the aromas.

With the reveal our host admitted after so much effort to to track this down, have it shipped to the US then bring to India it was a bit of a disappointment. I’ll also admit to having mixed experience with Hedonism – certainly interesting but not also bang on the mark, for me at least.

What do the folks at Compass Box have to say?

Fifteenth Anniversary Limited Edition release of 5,689 bottles. Bottled in February 2015.

Flavour Descriptors The combination of grain whiskies from different distilleries and of varying ages has created extraordinary complexity and juxtapositions of flavour. Indulgent yet lively, unctuous yet light, you will find a deep, sweet caramel coconut succulence combining with exultant tropical fruits.

Recommendations Drink this whisky as any true Hedonist would – however you like it, whenever you feel like it and in whatever quantity you deem appropriate. We particularly enjoy Quindecimus paired with sweet desserts or Highland fudge.

The blended grains are a combination of North British, Port Dundas, Dumbarton and a mystery blend aged more than 32 years.

After Hedonism, we continued on with :

And just in case you are curious? Here are notes from the earlier brushes with a different version of Compass Box’s Hedonism:

Interested in catching more? Why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Whisky Ladies Compass Box Eve – Hedonism 43%

At our Whisky Ladies Compass Box evening shifted gears completely… Having just sampled Spice Tree Extravaganza and the lightly peaty Great King Street Experimental Batch, we realized before launching into the decidedly peaty Flaming Heart and Peat Monster, it might be a good idea to recalibrate our palates with the unique Hedonism.

Compass Box Hedonism 43%

  • Nose – Exquisite! Subtle, nuanced, fresh oranges, exceedingly fresh and fragrant
  • Palate – Piña colada with that mix of coconut cream and pineapple, sweet light spice, silky smooth, vanilla custard
  • Finish – Starts with a great finish then “Oh you are gone, but was nice while it lasted!”

There was an immediate flashback to the Nikka Coffey Grain with its coconut, pinneapple, yet obviously a much more nuanced variant… for some it was absolutely delicious and for others, just not their style. Which seems to be the case with grain whiskies.

It was a complete departure from the earlier drams and an excellent example of the range of unique blends Compass Box produces.

Here’s what the folks at Compass Box have to say:

The inspiration behind our whisky HEDONISM is just that – pleasure, enjoyment, a celebration of that ideal marriage between distilled spirit and high quality oak maturation. The aromas and flavours hint of vanilla, caramel, a delicate fruitiness, accented by flashes of coconut in the finish. This is a whisky that will appeal to both the ardent whisky enthusiast and newcomers to whisky alike.

Our Compass Box evening included:

Psst… this wasn’t my first rodeo with Hedonism… you can read more about my earlier experiences here. I was delighted to sample a more recent incarnation.

This whisky was purchased by one of our Whisky Ladies and sampled from an open, nearly full bottle in July 2017.

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Whisky Ladies Explore a Compass Box Quintet

Most of our Whisky Ladies are no strangers to the often remarkable Compass Box blends. As a group, we’ve sampled the delightful Asyla, Great King Street – Artists Blend and the unique Hedonism. Independently, some of us have tasted many more…

For some time now, we’ve wanted to enjoy a focused session exploring Compass Box offerings… and found our chance on a monsoon evening in July 2017!

It began as a trio, yet morphed into a quintet – oh my! And no ordinary set either… no siree! We found ourselves exploring several limited edition avatars too..

Here is what we tried a Compass Box quintet of:

As always, the distinctive designs, superb craftsmanship and unique take on different whisky profiles was impressive. What a treat to try these together!

Related Compass Box posts:

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Compass Box Blends…

My partner will sometimes introduce me as a ‘Single Malt Snob’… he does so with great affection and humour, knowing I’m far from snobbish in life but am particular about my whiskies.

It does highlight a perception that an old single malt MUST be good whereas a blended whisky MUST be rubbish.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

While there are some absolutely stunning single malts… there are equally some rather good blends.

And the folks over at Compass Box are out to prove you should pay attention to well crafted blended whiskies. They keep surprising whisky watchers with their creative approach and beautiful marriage of art and science.

They also set in motion a movement for transparency after being told to stop disclosing the component whiskies that go into their blends.

They aren’t demanding others mandatorily disclose what goes into that whisky you love so much… they are simply asking for the right to share with consumers what goes what they create.

Hard to argue with such an approach but they have a fight on their hands… read more here.

Compass Box Juveniles sampled at La Maison du Whisky (Whisky Lady)

Juveniles sampled at La Maison du Whisky (Whisky Lady)

Living in India means either sampling these blends outside of the country or depending on a whisky club member to source and bring into the country…

Through both approaches, have enjoyed til date seven Compass Box blends:

Compass Box Trilogy

Anyone have a favourite Compass Box blend? Or another blended whisky?

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Compass Box – Hedonism 43%

I seem to be on a bit of a Compass Box roll… til date have sampled: AsylaGreat King’s Cross Artist’s Blend and Glasgow Blend, Juveniles, Spice Tree, The Peat Monster… and now Hedonism.

This sample came compliments of the Canadian stash from my aunt and uncle – fellow whisky aficionados with their own whisky tasting group running for more than a decade.

Compass Box Hedonism (Whisky Lady's uncle)

Compass Box Hedonism (Whisky Lady’s uncle)

Hedonism 43% – Blended grain scotch whisky

And here goes my impressions:

  • Nose – Lots of coconut oil, light and perfumed, sweet vanilla flowers, subtle, over time a light white chocolate emerged, then an overly sweet marzipan
  • Taste – A slightly odd quality… not so much oak more like a ‘woody’ coconut, a bit herbal, very soft with a bitter edge, like faded cinnamon bark
  • Finish – Very dry, light yet somehow hangs in there, a curl of oak and something else I simply wasn’t able to pinpoint
  • Water – Adds a slightly spicy element, creamy, the pronounced coconut remains but a tinge subdued

Interestingly, we had the dregs of another bottle of Hedonism passed around at the end of our August Whisky Ladies session. It had been transferred into a small glass jar… and I found the coconut oil so predominant we actually speculated whether the container may have contaminated the sample.

Clearly it had not as this one from my aunt and uncle had that same quality.

In some ways, it reminded me of my first foray into the land of single grain whisky from Chita. Yet while the Chita is quite ‘technical’ in its soft, delicate, floral nature, Hedonism has more of an ‘edge,’ there is personality peaking through that coconut and a sense of age.

I wanted to love it as I do many Compass Box offerings. I was pre-disposed to find it delightful. It isn’t.

Yet it is intriguing. Unusual. Difficult to describe. Completely unique. And it grows on you… sip after sip…

Do I like it? After a bit of warming up and aligning to its special qualities… yes!

Would it be 1st priority for future purchasing? Perhaps not but it is absolutely worth trying if you get a chance.

For a bit more info, here’s what the folks at Compass Box say about Hedonism
  • Flavour Descriptors – Elegant flavours of vanilla cream, toffee, coconut.
  • Recommendations – As an aperitif, serve with a small amount of chilled water. Late in the evening, serve neat. Also makes a great whisky sour.
  • Distillery Sourcing – Will vary according to batch but typically whiskies from the following distilleries: Cameron Bridge, Carsebridge, Cambus, Port Dundas or Dumbarton.
  • Wood – 100% first-fill American oak barrels or rejuvenated American oak Hogsheads.
  • Bottling Details – 43%. Not chill filtered. Natural colour.
And here’s what others say:
Canadian stash

Canadian stash…

Other Compass Box treats sampled:

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on: