Released for a limited time only, this special edition bottling celebrates 10 years since Compass Box’s flagship blended malt Spice Tree was originally discontinued due to its controversial barrels and maturation. This new whisky features the same original blend of malts from the standard Spice Tree release (60% Clynelish, 20% Dailuaine, 20% Teaninich) but they have been matured for a little longer in a combination of medium toasted casks, refill hybrid casks, and heavily toasted hybrid casks. The blend is then supplemented by a series of sherry-cask matured malt whisky stocks from the Glen Ord, Ben Rinnes and Allt-a-Bhainne distilleries, designed to give their signature dram that little something else to create the “extravaganza” for our eagerly-awaiting glasses. As ever, the details of the constituent whiskies that comprise the blend and their proportions are available on their website (here) and the whole concoction is bottled at 46% ABV.
After the initial blast of booze, we’re back to a familiar toffee sweetness and a dark, strong coffee type of bitterness, warmth and spice.
The palate is first met by a series of coffee, cinnamon and clove spices but they are quickly smoothed out with a soft, creamy texture and orangey/fruit element. This is a Christmas cake in whisky form.
Lingering, dominant spices only really show their head on the finish after the whisky has left the mouth to quickly coat and then dry the throat. Stem ginger and clove warmth hang around for quite some time.
So what’s the extravaganza here? Well it seems to be the flavour journey that you are taken on. There are lots of elements fighting for your attention. The final flavour profiles are like a homemade Christmas pudding, with a hefty hit of spice and a generous helping of booze. Each of the flavours from your ingredients seem to reveal themselves in sequence and then vie for your attention after they’ve all had their turn. The spices are not as prevalent as they are in the standard Spice Tree, but the sherry influence adds something to the overall taste that makes a second glass seem more alluring than a pure spice attack would. We’re not sure that this bottling necessarily warrants being twice the price of the standard Spice Tree release but the extra elements and maturations must surely cost the team to craft this potion and the biggest CB fans will inevitably cash in on this celebratory bottling – whether for enjoyment, investment or both.