Following yesterday’s review of the Eleuthera, one of Compass Box’s vatted malts, here is the Hedonism, which may be the only all-grain blend they’ve released (at least in general release). I’ve not had too many Scotch grain whiskies, and those only much older single grains, which is a category that seems to be picking up steam among whisky geeks these days. The Hedonism also has old whisky in it and as per their site it’s all from 100% first-fill American oak barrels and/or rejuvenated American oak hogsheads. As they specify barrels and hogsheads this would imply that they’re ex-bourbon (sherry is also matured in American oak casks–European oak is used primarily during storage and shipping*–but in much larger butts or puncheons).
*This is something I learned recently from my friend Rich who visited a number of sherry bodegas in Spain earlier this year.
Compass Box, Hedonism (43%; blended grain whisky; from a sample received in a swap)
I’m not sure why this is at 43% but it’s not chill-filtered anyway.
Nose: A somewhat indistinct sweetness–acetone? Some citrus (lime zest) after that and then some expanding vanilla. I’m not really getting very much more past that. Maybe a mild grassiness? After a while the lime zest seems to be the main thing going on and there’s a little woody spice/pepperiness too and some toasted cereals. But it’s all rather mild. With water there’s more vanilla and some shortbread.
Palate: Hmmm. Not as sweet as the nose would have indicated but also not much of anything else except wood (pencil shavings, plywood). It’s not particularly tannic or otherwise offensive in its woodiness but it’s also not terribly interesting. Do I have to finish drinking this? Well, let’s see if water does anything good for it. No, it doesn’t; just makes it woodier.
Finish: Medium. Again, nothing but the wood and indistinct sweetness and, unfortunately, on the finish it does get a little astringent at the end. With water make that quite astringent.
Comments: The nose is the best part but Hedonism is certainly a misnomer for this whisky. This gentleman would certainly not approve. He would also not recommend it, and neither would I. Frankly, I don’t see the point of this. If you want to drink grain-heavy whisky there are a lot of cheaper and better blends out there.
Rating: 70 points.
Thanks again to Florin for the sample!