Posts Tagged With: Single Grain

Tasting Notes: Compass Box – Double Single

Compass Box Range – Double Single

Sat within Compass Box’s Limited Edition Range is the Double Single blended scotch whisky. For this release, the blenders have sought to demonstrate that a blended whisky need not feature fractional components of dozens of whiskies to create an enjoyable blended whisky experience. Based on this premise, the whisky gets its name from the fact that it is a blend of just two whiskies: one single malt whisky from Glen Elgin, and one single grain whisky from Girvan distillery. The malt whisky forms the lion’s share of this dram, comprising 72% of the total liquid, and both elements have been matured in re-charred, ex-bourbon barrels. Whilst the age of maturation for these components is not available, the fuller details are available here. The ‘simple’ blend has then been married together and bottled at 46% ABV.

Nose: This has a very sweet nose. Rich vanilla at first and then the barley malts and grist are there at the back. Very clean. No nonsense here.

Taste: There is a great combo of malt complexity and grain simplicity at play. The palate just allows those initial vanilla and malt flavours to develop. The flavour profiles of vanilla and malt are really exaggerated too, like taking a mouthful of chewy milk bottle sweets and digestive biscuits – hopefully with less damage to the teeth!

Finish: It leaves a nice, syrupy coating of the throat – which makes sense with all the sweetness at play.

Verdict: This is a really enjoyable, light whisky. The ex-bourbon barrels are certainly doing their part to infuse the vanillin into the whisky components, and that particularly accentuates the Girvan grain whisky. It is then all down to the blender’s skill and mastery to ensure that this vanilla-bomb does not compromise any of the single malt’s complexities, and they have achieved that goal. What a job that must be! Given how enjoyable this is, it did get us talking about maybe trying our own blending at home with our own single malts and single grain whiskies – but would that then be sacrilege to mess with the original whiskies themselves? Well, I guess you’ve got to start somewhere… but maybe we should first investigate finding a blending class before splashing around some Lagavulin 16 in the name of experimentation!

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Tasting Notes: Compass Box – Hedonism

Compass Box Range – Hedonism

Compass Box’s Hedonism sits within their Signature Range of premium blends and is the collection’s sole blended grain scotch whisky. Whilst the usual ingredients of Hedonism mostly features Cameronbridge single grain whisky vatted with Port Dundas, this bottle was marked MMVXI-C, which allows you check the exact recipe on their website. Here we discover that whilst Cameronbridge is the main component again (45%), in the interests of securing the same flavour profile, this has then been married with Dumbarton (31%) and Strathclyde (24%) grain whiskies all matured in first fill American oak casks and bottled at 43% ABV.


Nose: This is very sweet. There’s a real vanilla pod burst here and the boozy nose can barely mask it. There’s also a bit of a tropical scent to this too, which made us both think of pineapple. Yes, pineapple.

Taste: As soon as the initial booze blast subsides, then the distinctive grain whisky banana and custard flavours come out. That strange pineapple flavour reappears now too, along with coconut (we’re not making this up!) and reveals a totally tropical taste.

Finish: It leaves a good, clean finish and is all over just a little too quickly, unfortunately for us.

Verdict: As the name suggests, the whisky intends to celebrate the enjoyment of things, and particularly the flavours of grain whisky. By our books, it achieves that. The classic grain whisky flavours and textures are there, and the first fill US barrels make for a very vanilla-rich whisky. It may have been the power of suggestion (and the free flowing of alcohol) but this was then complemented by what seems like the whisky equivalent of the Malibu pineapple-meets-coconut flavour. When comparing notes to the other Compass Box expressions in the Signature Range, we’re not sure why there aren’t as many individual flavours listed within the notes for the grain whisky, but then again it just seems to be more about being straightforward and enjoyable. If the brief was for simplicity and enjoyment thereof then they have aimed well and hit that target. Beautiful stuff. “Rich. Vanilla. Alluring.” Indeed.


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Tasting Notes: Invergordon 21 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

Invergordon 21yo (Douglas Laing – Old Particular)

Douglas Laing & Co (not to be confused with Hunter Laing) have a history steeped in whisky, having been independently bottling whiskies since 1948. With their history and enviable stock of old and rare casks, the Old Particular series of whiskies displays their premium collection of hand-selected casks – only exceeded by their Xtra Old Particular series (aka “XOP”). This single grain scotch whisky features in the Old Particular range of limited releases (only 204 bottles available from that single cask). This whisky has been selected from the Invergordon distillery and showcases a 21 year old single grain that has been matured in bourbon refill casks, delivered up at a punchy 52.8%


M: Vanilla hits the nose straight away. Toffee sweetness. Toasty cereals. A little cigar smoke at the back and a decent boozy burn.



M: The vanilla flavour from the nose just increases and intensifies. The cereal notes in there kinda remind me of baking. Put the two together: Belgian waffles!!



M: The booze only really appears on the finish and it intensifies and tingles on the way down. It’s a pretty long finish and that vanilla flavour just lingers throughout.



M: For something with such a high ABV, the booze only really shows up at the end and let’s the vanilla from the barrel do a lot of the talking upfront. A little toasty flavour that, along with the vanilla, reminds me of Belgian waffles and that flavour comes back well after having finished the dram and the boozy burn having eventually subsided. This was a Dram Team miniature and their tasting notes also referenced waffles as well as creme brûlée, which I totally get now, after the event – and that’s one of my favourite puddings! The flavours here are definitely all about the desserts, and it’s age and booze content give it a decent body – though if this was a blind tasting, I’d have never guessed that it was 21 years old. The 50+ percentage left a bit of a sting on the way down and a lower percentage might have made for one of the smoothest drams ever.

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