Compass Box: Affinity

In a bit of a departure from my usual “whisky-only” reviews on this blog, I’d like to say a few words about Compass Box’s Affinity. If you haven’t been following the flurry of Compass Box releases lately (and why should you? Every g-ddamn one of them has been north of $150), you might not know that Affinity is actually a “spirit drink”, which is the only legal way to label a blend of Scottish whisky and French calvados (apple and/or pear brandy).

Compass Box – Stranger & Stranger

…to be more specific about the makeup of this bottle, it’s 80% ex-bourbon Glenlossie, 14% ex-bourbon Glen Elgin, 5% ex-sherry Linkwood, and the aforementioned 1% of 1 year-old Girvan grain spirit. Note that the grain spirit is 1 year old because Glaser filled Girvan new-make into American oak barrels and “seasoned” the wood for a year before removing it. The “1%” in the blend is what was left in the barrels. I’m not allowed to tell you…

Compass Box – The Circle No. 1

…together, they created a blended malt scotch whisky that they describe as “Sunshine in a Glass”. It is comprised of a majority of first-fill ex-bourbon Tamdhu, about 15% refill ex-sherry Clynelish, a little ex-bourbon malt “from Orkney” (which means Highland Park or Scapa – I’d guess HP since it’s peated), and a scant 1.5% of Compass Box’s standard French Oak cask Highland blend. If you’d like to know the ages…

Compass Box – Story of the Spaniard (Batch 1)

The Story of the Spaniard is a blended malt whisky (that is to say, multiple single malts but no grain whisky) that is composed of malts aged in ex-sherry (48%) and Spanish red wine casks (25%). The vatting is bottled without added color or chill filtration at 43% ABV. As usual with Compass Box, all of the information you could possibly want is available online except for…

Compass Box – Spice Tree

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…

Compass Box – Spice Tree Extravaganza

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.

Compass Box – 3 Year Old Deluxe

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.