In essence it’s a mixture of 60% Clynelish, 20% Dailuaine, and 20% Teaninich, the majority of which is then finished for two years in various toast (heat-treated) grades of the aforementioned French Oak-topped barrels. This is intended to bring out the “spice” notes inherent in French Oak, as well as to contribute to the sweet, oaky flavor available when using new oak…
This being the 10-year anniversary of Compass Box having to halt production of the original Spice Tree, a blended whisky with French oak barrel staves inserted into the barrels (a scotch whisky regulation no-no), the Extravaganza is a bumped-up version of the remade Spice Tree, which uses toasted new French oak barrel heads instead of inserted staves in accordance with regulation.
The 3 Year Old Deluxe is a thumbed nose at UK regulations because it contains (unspecified ages of) older whiskies with 0.4% of 3 year-old Clynelish. In effect, it’s a blended malt scotch whisky with 90% old-ish Clynelish and 10% old-ish sherried Talisker bottled at a robust 49.2% ABV without added color or chill filtration. In accordance with the age and quality of the whisky (and not the minimum age on the label), this is not going to be cheap.
This is a blend of some seriously old scotch, (and I love me some old scotch), with a price tag to match ($250 or so. Eek!). The specs are spot-on. Compass Box was kind enough to tell us EXACTLY what’s in this whisky….
Flaming Heart Fifth Edition is a Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (meaning it consists of malt from different distilleries, but no grain whisky)…. The goal of Flaming Heart has always been to showcase Compass Box’s hybrid barrels with new French oak heads in balance with quality Islay peated malts. This 15th anniversary edition kicks up that formula with some older Caol Ila.
This special release is a blend of grain from four distilleries of various ages, none of which are younger than 20, and all of which aged in ex-bourbon American oak casks. The result is bottled at 46% ABV with no added color and no chill filtration.
The clean, crisp notes of peach and white grapes carry through from nose to finish, never allowing the peat to dominate. Masterfully blended – a truly excellent example of skilled blending and what it can accomplish.
This is a clean, crisp, and borderline bland example of what skillful hands can do with young or inexpensive whisky blending components. However, I can’t think of any reason to buy Asyla when Great King Street: Artist’s Blend is on the shelf.
Unfortunately, Oak Cross just didn’t gel for me. The individual notes are interesting – truly the first time I’ve identified clove notes so clearly – but they do not combine harmoniously. While I would recommend anyone interested in the alchemy of wood and spirit give this dram a serious contemplation, I can’t suggest buying a bottle untasted.
I don’t know if I’d call it hedonistic, but this is a prime example of what can be done with skillful blending and excellent grain whiskies. The nose is light and sweet, the flavor is packed with bakery sweets and spices, and the finish is crisp, elegant, and flawless.