Our SnapShot series continues with an exploration of a company we’ve long been curious about: Compass Box Whisky. They have been on our proverbial radar for years but we only recently dipped our toes in with bottles of the Great King Street “Glasgow” and The Peat Monster. One reason is not wanting to plunk down the price of a bottle without trying any first, and none of the bars we normally frequent in the metro carry blends. Hey, don’t blame us for having standards. The set featured here is an elegantly put together kit, with the 50ml vials feeling especially generous. There was also a snappy foldout filled with info-graphics attempting to distill the tastes and sources of each whisky into something digestible, walking the edge between too much for beginners and not enough for the more curious. We tasted the entire set in the space of about one hour in the order of the following.
John Glaser and Compass Box have been pushing the bounds of scotch since the beginning, often winning awards and angering conglomerates along the way. One of their long staples (Signature Range) has been the Peat Monster. This monster is, despite the name, not built to overwhelm with peat or smoke. Rather, the stated purpose is to take those Islay elements and enrich them with fruits and malt. In other words, to create something that is far more than a two-dimensional scotch. There is also a 2013 release of a 10th anniversary edition of the Peat Monster we hope to try in the future.
Compass Box was founded in 2000 by John Glaser, a former employee of Johnnie Walker (and native Minnesotan). While Compass Box is not a distillery, it does produce and bottle scotch. Noted for their blends and pushing the buttons of the Scotch Whisky Association, Compass Box has also taken home a variety of awards from whisky competitions. The Great King Street series a purposeful look back, seeking to recreate the kind of scotch favored in the 19th century. Citizens of Glasgow in particular favored full-bodied and bold flavored malts according to records, hence the name.