By Emma Briones
Phenomenology is a school of thought that studies the perception of objects by the observer or, as others may say, the subjective experience. Fittingly, it is also the name of the latest expression from Compass Box.
Compass Box Phenomenology is a blend of 5 whiskies. According to Compass Box, to produce Phenomenology they tried mix elements that, apparently, might be contradictory but altogether create a harmony of flavor. For this occasion, and even against its own transparency policy, Compass Box has decided to not share too much information about the recipe. This may strike fans of the company as strange, but it does make sense if you want drinkers to really focus on their experience and get the best of this whisky. One isn’t distracted by the notion of “malt from distillery A aged to X years in M cask stock, in Z proportion.” With Compass Box Phenomenology the idea is to challenge the drinker’s experience.
The bottle has a label that displays illustrations that may be inspired by Salvador Dali’s surrealism. Another wink from Compass Box to the importance of perception in this whisky.
Compass Box Phenomenology is a limited edition blended whisky. It is non-chill-filtered, has natural color and has been bottled at 46% ABV (92 proof).
Compass Box Phenomenology is pale gold in the glass with medium tears. On the nose, it is really fruity and floral. There are some strong pear notes and a touch of citrus. There is also a splash of freshly cut watermelon and the sweet touch of peaches in syrup.
The blend is an authentic blast of fruit on the palate. Pears and watermelon are the highlights of this blast of fruit. It is followed by spicy notes and a blend of vanilla and nutmeg. There are also some subtle notes of oak.
The finish lingers on its spicy side and slowly parts away from the fruitier side. There are some lingering sweet notes that quietly give way to hints of oak.
Compass Box Phenomenology is a work of art in three steps. Each one gives way to the next easily. Its wonderful fruity start is followed by a climax of complexity and spices and finally ends with a touch of oak.
For me, this whisky is a fresh, complex and well-matured blend that will surely be a delight to anyone. But according to phenomenology, you may find something completely different. Anyway, if you have a chance to spoil yourself a little, this fantastic blend is a must.
Compass Box Phenomenology is available in Europe and the US in limited quantities. It is retailed at £150 and $200.