Compass Box seem to have the whisky geek version of “most favoured nations” status but try as I might I have not yet come across an expression from this innovative bottler that to my palate has matched its reputation, story or stylish presentation (though I did like the Eleuthera). I should say in advance that this is also true of this bottle of Great King Street (which is a blend of single malt and grain whisky). I opened this as well for our local whisky group’s June tasting and it wasn’t just my lowest whisky of the night, it was pretty much everyone’s—and everyone but me was tasting everything blind. As with all their whiskies, it does have a nice label and an evocative name. Unlike most of their whiskies it’s at 43%.
Compass Box, Great King Street (43%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Mild sweet fruit (apples mostly) and a light grassy note. With more time there’s some soft, buttery oak and some cream. With more time there’s some citrus mixed in with the sweet fruit.
Palate: As on the nose except without the grassy note and more vanilla. Gentle texture. On subsequent sips the grassy note appears in a slightly metallic avatar. With more time a little bit of lemon appears on the palate.
Finish: Medium. Mild oak, some indistinct sweetness and then the metallic thing. With time there’s some pepper as well.
Comments: I think I did like it more tonight than I did back in June. It’s pleasant enough but there’s still not a whole lot of there there. It feels a lot of effort was gone to in order to replicate the qualities of unremarkable Speyside malts. There’s some small proportion of sherry casks in this but I’m not really tasting what they brought to the vatting. Your mileage may, and probably will, vary.
Rating: 82 points.