By Richard Thomas
A year ago, Compass Box released a pair of experimental batches in their Great King Street blended scotch line with the intent of turning one of them into the new regular installment in that line. One was the Blue Batch and the other the Orange Batch. When Compass Box announced this past October their intent to make that regular addition to the Great King Street family with the Glasgow Blend, it was a whisky in an orange label. So, I naturally speculated that the Glasgow Blend was based on the Orange Batch.
Wrong! Having sampled the new Great King Street Glasgow Blend and compared it against my notes, the results point straight to the Blue Batch as the source for this blend. So, Compass Box not only crafted and released a blended scotch “packed to the rafters” with flavor. They also managed to pull a sneaky little trick on those handful of us who were paying close attention!
Just like the Blue Batch, the Glasgow Blend is a 1/3 Lowland grain, 2/3s malt concoction, with the malt whisky drawing on sources in the Highlands, Islay and Speyside. In keeping with the usual Compass Box practice, it is unfiltered and bottled at 46% abv.
In the glass, the whisky shows a lemony, pale yellow coloring, akin to a hefty white wine. The nose shares a little of that fruity character, with an aspect of citrus zest, mint, and ginger spice, but balanced with salty sea spray and a few drops of oily creosote.
This experimental batch was supposed to be the smoky, salty one of the pairing, though, and it’s on the palate where it lives up to that billing. On a slick, oily texture the whiskey delivers a smoky, woody current, balanced by a sweet note that reminded me of cookie spice with an extra dash of salt. The finish leaves a spicy coat on the tongue, and winds down with buttery warmth.
This scotch is a sipper you take your time with, and is an ideal candidate for trotting out to those who obsesses over single malts and think a blend is synonymous with cheap crap. As I’ve written before, I liked it at least as much, and perhaps just a bit more, than the original Great King Street, and I’m strongly considering picking up a bottle for my cabinet.
Part of the reason why I’m considering picking up a bottle for my liquor cabinet is the price: right around £30 ($45) for a 50 cl bottle.