Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Whisky Wire's Compass Box Twasting

A little while back I received a message from Steve Rush of The Whisky Wire asking if I would be at all interested in participating in a Twitter tasting or more concisely put, a ‘Twasting’. For me this was a no-brainer. All the more so because the whiskies that would be tantalizing our taste-buds would be the ever excellent Compass Box whiskies that I have enthused about before. I eagerly replied to accept my invitation and a few weeks later I received my three precious samples. The first, Compass Boxes new offering - the Great King Street Artist’s Blend, then the stylistic Spice Tree and finally the effervescent Peat Monster. I stored them away carefully for their grand opening on Wednesday 21st September. On Wednesday evening a minor disaster struck. My girlfriend’s laptop that I had been borrowing spectacularly crashed and left me without the internet access I required to participate. Thankfully not deterred I found a solution. With cunning, I strapped two Blackberry’s together, each with Twitter access and with these and my samples I was ready to roll. On one screen I had a feed running for the evening’s hashtag: #CBtwasting, and on the other my own live feed that I could update. As 8pm approached Steve began the countdown, I had my drams poured and my fingers itching to type. Then the clock struck eight and the tweets began to roll. At first I was worried that the sheer number of tweets would cause confusion and make it difficult to keep up, but my fears were quickly put to rest. It became a great game of tasting, writing a note, commenting on fellow Twasters’ own notes and retweeting everything I agreed with. The hour and a half it took passed quickly. Each whisky receiving what seemed short at the time thanks to my immersion in the Twitterverse approximately thirty minutes. So what can I say about them? Well, firstly it was hard to choose a favourite. I am a huge fan of all three, the GKS for me is an excellent aperitif whisky, the history of the original Spice Tree being banned appeals to me greatly, and the Peat Monster is a fantastic smoky blended malt. The second thing I would say is that all of them demonstrate brilliantly the potential of blended whisky. I would happily exchange a Compass Box offering for a single malt whisky any day, here’s to hoping other blenders catch the zeitgeist. As my fingers are still tired from bashing Blackberry buttons let’s jump to my notes, and do keep an eye on The Whisky Wire for any future events he runs, I can promise fun and dram related shenanigans will make for a very fun evening.

Great King Street Artist’s Blend
43% - No Age Statement – Blended Whisky
Nose: For me marshmallows and banana dominate or foam banana as was kindly suggested to me during the Twasting. I also got lemon and syrupy fruit.
Palate: Quite light but with substantial mouth-feel, bananas and cream and citrus fruits.
Finish: Butter icing lasting a surprisingly long time.
Overall: As mentioned a great aperitif and a great go to whisky if you want to settle back and relax with a dram.

Spice Tree
46% - No Age Statement – Blended Malt
Nose: Apples and mulling spices in a mulled cider kind of style with icing sugar on a second sniff.
Palate: SPICE! Is the active word here: Cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, cumin with a vanilla sweetness lurking behind.
Finish: Chewy and spicy clinging on for a long while after. Utterly satisfying.
Overall: Spice and sweetness complimenting each other perfectly, does what it says on the tin.
Peat Monster
46% - No Age Statement – Blended Malt
Nose: Warm embers, soft seaweed notes, gammon and grassy ashes.
Palate: A meaty maritime palate thanks to the presence of Laphroaig. Raspberry and tropical fruits in amidst a creamy quality swiftly follow.
Finish: Salty with a seaweed character but not at all overpowering, allowing the flavours to hold and intermingle pleasantly.
Overall: Excellent, smoky whisky, not harsh or abrupt a whisky to savour and a suitable end to my first Twasting!

Thanks to Steve at The Whisky Wire, Compass Box and all involved for a fantastic evening. See my 'blogs I like' page to follow Steve.

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