By Richard Thomas
As independent bottlers are dependent on others for their stock, they sometimes find they must discontinue certain expressions because the whiskeys involved in making them become unavailable. The crafty folks at Compass Box have been forced into this position several times, and one such instance was the company’s very first vatted malt, Eleuthera. In production from 2001 to 2004 and reportedly still available as recently as 2012, this popular stuff was a mix of middle aged malt whiskies from Brora and Port Askaig.
That decision to discontinue rather than recreate is one of the things that separates Compass Box from a lot of other bottlers, who would keep the brand name and try to concoct a new blend that duplicated the old one. When John Glaser and Co. come around to that idea, they give it an all new name, hence The Lost Blend.
The Lost Blend is named for an O. Henry short story, and a marriage of “two fruity Highland single malts and a peaty Islay single malt.” The stock produced a run of over 12,000 bottles, making it a pretty big limited edition. Even so, it is still just the single run, and like Eleuthera, when it is gone it will be well and truly gone.
As usual with Compass Box whisky, The Lost Blend wasn’t chill filtered and was bottled at 46% abv. In the glass, the Scotch has a clear, canary yellow coloring, giving it a bright, eye-catching appearance compared to some paler whiskies.
The scent is resiny and spicy, and just a bit fruity. The peaty Islay comes across out of proportion to how much was actually used through the current of creosote running through the nose, but predominately the character is one of cinnamon, anise and ginger on top of peach. Imagine a pot of stewed, heavily spiced peaches simmering atop a wood-burning stove and you’ll have it.
The flavor follows down that line. The whisky has a moderate fruity sweetness to it, but the main aspects are its toasty wood, sharp spices, and its dash of ash. It’s a combination that makes The Lost Blend a well-balanced sipper.
The finish is a surprisingly light one, leaving a tingling coat on the tongue. It is so light on the warmth, in fact, that the major facet is the smoky aftertaste.
The Lost Blend is listed at a hefty £79 ($122).