Whisky Review: Compass Box Phenomenology
Category: Blended malt whisky
Bottling: Compass Box
Cost: £150 buy from Master of Malt
What they say:
‘Phenomenology’ – Noun. An approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience.
We’d long been working on a blend of single malts that combines seemingly dissonant flavour profiles, but together creates something compelling. We landed on a recipe that elicited a surprising range of reactions and descriptions, each person taking away something different from the whisky.
Rather than try to settle on whose perceptions were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, we were inspired by the phenomenological school of thought to consider how different people experience the same phenomenon.
Rather than referring to our tasting notes and description of the aromas and flavours of this whisky, we invite you to first experience it for yourself without preconception. Describe the ‘phenomena’ of this whisky yourself, in your own words and ideas. Your experience is your own, personal, subjective experience. Relish it.
Bottled at 46% abv, Not chill-filtered, Natural colour. 7,908 bottles of Phenomenology will be available, in Europe from 1st October 2017 and in the US from 1st November, priced at £150/US$180.
What I say:
Sampled at Glasgow whisky festival, I was delighted to try both Phenomenology and No Name side-by-side to see which I preferred most. You’ll have to wait for the second review to see which one won! I was informed the recipe of this will remain secret for a short period before being generally released so that it could be sampled without preconception or other related phenomenon in a twist on Compass Box’s common transparency-focussed offerings. Spoiler alert – my own tasting notes are presented below – so stop reading now if you haven’t tried this yet! 🙂
Full amber gold (9/10), medium tears with medium-fine legs
Gentle fruits, apple, pear, orchard fruits, softened demerara sugar, fudge, malty cereal barley, a little gristy, heather honey, waxy and a touch buttery/oily, waxed or polished oak wood, beeswax, some vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg spices.
In a word, smooth, a nice toffee and malty backdrop for a classic ‘whisky’ flavour, some honey poached apples and pears, slightly tropical fruit edge with pineapple fritters, clotted cream and vanilla fudge, demerara sugar softened in butter, mouth-coating and waxy, beeswax and perhaps a touch of light linseed oil too reminiscent of oiled and waxed oak wood, a hint of dry leather, a smattering of cinnamon and nutmeg wood spices again but well baked like cinnamon dusted baked apple pie.
Medium, toffee, malt, apple and oak
Very enjoyable and smooth blend full of some classic flavours and hints of both aged (tropical fruit) and favoured (waxy, apple – Clynelish?) in this blend. Pretty solid dram which impressed with it’s smoothness and subtleties whilst fighting it out in a whisky festival environment!