Sat within Compass Box’s signature range is their “Oak Cross” blended malt scotch whisky. To those not fully versed in whisky-speak, that it is to say that it is a mixture of only malt whiskies from multiple distilleries. As per Compass Box’s transparency drive, they state that this bottling is a mix of 60% Clynelish, 20% Dailuaine and 20% Teaninch. This release received its own controversies and issues with the SWA as the “Oak Cross” title in question comes from the blenders’ usage of “hybrid” casks – whereby the barrel’s’ components are a mixture of French oak and US oak barrels with toasted barrel heads. This previously vatted highland blend is then split out and matured in separate American Standard Barrels and these hybrid casks before being married again before bottling at 43% ABV.
Nose: Toffee. Toffee. Then some more toffee. It’s a great mix of vanilla, sugary sweetness, and a little bit of toasty oak.
Taste: Toffee and oak continue their tussle for attention when it comes to the palate but the malt taste itself is there now too. There’s not too much more to report but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Finish: It ends just as it finished with a good mix of oaky wood flavours present and the sweetness of their influence on the malts present.
Verdict: If Asyla was breakfast, then this whisky is to be served with brunch. Or cheese, we thought. There seems to be a good mix of influences of the malts themselves and the barrels that they’ve been stored in. Overall, it’s a nice malt-whisky-flavoured whisky, if you know what we mean?! Comfortably within the middle ground of their range. Overall, we agreed that we probably wouldn’t go out of our to buy one of these, given the strength/diversity of the whiskies they have on offer, but we wouldn’t turn one down if available at a bar. It’s a good middle of the roader, but with an interesting tale to tell whilst travelling down that road.