Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Have just tried - 'Delilah's' by Compass Box
Compass Box was founded in 2000 by John Glaser and is based in London and Edinburgh. Their ethos is to buy whisky from a small number of distilleries and then craft them together into a unique product. All are produced and released in small batches, often using only two or three whiskies to create a new product. All are then given a catchy name. By doing their own blending and vatting, Compass Box have less restrictions than traditional independent bottlers and they are a former winner of the prestigious Innovator of the Year prize at the Whisky Magazine annual awards.
The Delilah's blend is constructed from 50% single malt and 50% grain whisky and has been bottled at 40% ABV. The constituent whiskies have been matured in a combination of new American oak barrels and rejuvenated American oak hogshead casks. A bottle should cost £52/$80 US. The whisky is resident at the bar in Chicago and is on sale in various markets around the world, with most of the 6,300 bottles going to the UK and USA. Other markets include Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Holland, Spain and Taiwan.
Our tasting notes
The colour is golden yellow and the nose has an immediate warmth and freshness to it. The initial aromas are of vanilla pods, honey and freshly baked bread. These are quickly joined by further aromas of malty cereal, coconut, some fruitiness (think of lemon zest with a hint of dried mango) and a pinch of cinnamon.
On the palate this feels viscous, soft and gentle but with a woody, spicy edge. There is plenty of vanilla and this note, along with one of fresh coconuts, gives the whisky a creamy feeling. They mix with a prominent dried apple note and a fainter lemon zestiness, and these add a hint of pleasant sharpness. Underneath other characteristics begin to come through with time and these add to the depth and complexity - these include some warming woody spices (especially cinnamon and nutmeg), honey, toffee, malt and brown sugar. There are final hints of bitter orange and ginger.
The finish has decent length - it is initially sweet and quite sugary with the vanilla, toffee and honeyed notes particularly prominent. As these fade, the woodier and spicier notes come to the fore and this leaves a delicious dryness in the mouth.
What's the verdict?
The guys at Compass Box have excelled themselves again - Delilah's is a delicious whisky. It is full of character and complexity, mixing sweetness and spiciness superbly. The whisky has been designed to be consumed alongside a nice cold beer and it we imagine that it would be a great combination. We intend to try this out with the remainder of our sample and will let you know what we think.