Time for a Compass Box release in the form of the
celebratory Hedonism Quindecimus marking 15 years in business. This for those
blissfully unaware was the sequel to the debut bottling from Compass Box
released back in 2000. Quindecimus hit the shelves in February 2015 and was a
bespoke edition of 5689 bottles, presented in the typically low key fashion
that was now associated with their releases.
Cards on the table and I’m not a huge fan of Compass Box.
Believe me I’ve tried various bottlings over the years and even went so far as
to organise a vertical tasting piece you can read at Whisky Rover. I had a
Spice Tree bottling that just didn’t agree with me and eventually I used some
in a whisky sauce but even then that failed to impress. So I found a nearby
Compass Box fan and just gave him most of what was left in the bottle.
I find their releases all a little lightweight and mainly
styling over substance. It’s my personal taste but I do find that many of their
releases rely on Clynelish and occupy a narrow spectrum of the whisky
hemisphere. All credit to the team at Compass Box, as they’ve built a brand and
loyal following who snap up every release regardless of the concept or price.
Hedonism Quindecimus is accompanied by some details of the
components that go into this grain whisky. In total there are five distilleries
supplying aged, rarer stock, which equates to a minimum of twenty years for
this blend. This should come as no surprise given how few grain distilleries
now operate and all aged whiskies in today’s market are rare. In terms of
pricing this was around £130 when it hit retail (before selling out) and this
is a decent sum for what is a grain blend.
Colour: a light caramel
Nose: coconut flakes, vanilla cream, sugar rush of highland
toffee and warm shortbread. A floral aspect and its noticeably very light plus there’s
a hint of strawberry beneath and a buttery nature. Also I’m reminded of when I have to slice
button mushrooms in the kitchen; there’s a brief fungal element.
Taste: it’s a very safe blend assortment of light sugary
flavours and very safe. Caramel, more biscuits and plenty of vanilla with
aerosol cream. Water isn’t recommended as I find it very fragile. There’s
apples and I’m reminded of those candy cigarettes you used to have as a kid.
Overall: I’m surprised that this feels a little youthful for
a grain and lacking the real character I’ve seen from several single grain cask
bottlings. The blend is less than a sum of its parts arguably and the price
being asked here at launch doesn’t match the experience. I’d be much happier
picking up a grain bottling from the Douglas Laing Old Particular range.
Labels: blended whisky, Clynelish, compass box, featured, grain, Hedonism Quindecimus