Posts Tagged With: Sherry

Tasting Notes: Compass Box – Spice Tree Extravaganza

Compass Box Range – Spice Tree Extravaganza

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.


Nose: 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.

Taste: 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.

Finish: 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.

Verdict: 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.


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Tasting Notes: Tullamore DEW Special Reserve 12 Years Old


Tullamore DEW 12 Years Old

Tasted as part of the recent Dram Team subscription package, this whiskey is actually only readily available as a travel retail bottling from Tullamore DEW – or “Tully” as their fans more often refer to it. What this “Special Reserve” contains is a blended batch of pot still, malt and grain whiskies that have been matured in a combination of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels over the course of 12+ years.

40% ABV



M: Bit more going on here than their standard offering. This has a woodier, maltier nose. The distillery’s characteristic sweetness is there, but dark sugars are here now in place of the lighter, vanilla sweetness. Sweet biscuity-like flavours are there too, like hobnobs and digestives. The alcohol gives the nose a fair tingle too.




M: That digestive biscuit flavour really comes out when it hits the tongue. There’s a sort of wholemeal-meets-cereal flavour that dominates. After a little bit of time there seems to be a bit of honey poured onto that porridge mix of flavours bringing out a sweetness and a little oaky tang at the back which leaves a few, gentle, spiced elements on the way down.




M: The booze intensifies a little down the throat meaning that those malty, biscuity flavours fade away pretty quickly. Fairly lingering finish.




M: This was a really enjoyable dram. It has still got that Irish sweet, silky texture about it but the wood and grains seem to have a lot more of a say than the standard bottling’s toffee blast. Thankfully there is not so much of the dreaded “creamy mouthfeel” here from this Irish whiskey either, though it is still satisfyingly smooth. The influences of the oak from the 12+ years of maturation really help round this whiskey out into an easy sipping drink with a little something more about it. Very easy drinking.

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Tasting Notes: Glen Moray Classic Sherry Cask Finish

Glen Moray – Classic Sherry Cask Finish

Glen Moray is based in Elgin, Scotland, within the legendary Speyside region and the distillery   has seen some rapid expansion within the last 5 years or so. Their distinctive brand and bottling shows a focus on traditional distilling and with so much competition within the area, the content of their bottles really has something to prove to be able to stand out from the crowd. This particuar expression is readily available within shops and supermarkets within the U.K. at a really cheap price for a non-home-brand single malt (usually found for roughly £22) and as its name suggests, focuses on a classic sherry cask finish, so without further ado…

ABV: 40%


M: Parma violet style sweetness upfront. A deeper sniff brings out a nice earthy, oak smell (like smelling the inside of a cask, which makes sense). A bit like smelling a booze-soaked crumble.


M: It is fruity sweetness all the way with a toffee apple tang at the back and a little citrus too. 


M: Pretty damn smooth, very light and a really quick finish – it is not hanging around and leaves you wanting more.


M: This whisky has all of the hallmarks of a good, traditional whisky done well, whisky still flying in the face of traditional whisky drinkers by not having an age statement – the emphasis being on taste and this dram is testament to the fact that good whiskies don’t have to come with an age statement (though I do really want to know how old it is on average!). It seems pretty fresh, straight forward and it is good at what it does. It doesn’t feel richly sherried, as it’s name would suggest, but it’s definitely there and makes for a very easy drinking dram. Definitely a cheap and cheerful whisky, and I’ve tasted many whiskies at a higher price which are nowhere near as good by comparison. As one of the cheapest single malts available in the U.K. Supermarkets, this therefore goes to prove that neither age nor cost actually dictate quality, and makes this a good affordable whisky for amateurs and aficionados alike. But hey, that’s like, just my opinion, man.

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