Compass Box Flaming Heart 15th Anniversary

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Distillery/Brand: Compass Box | ABV: 48.9% | Colour: Young Sauternes
Nose: 23 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 91

Review
As I write this review a few days ago Compass Box launched a much needed transparency campaign. This was basically to get whisky enthusiasts from around the world to sign a petition urging the SWA to allow for greater transparency in this increasingly muddy industry.

While I dutifully did my part we all know what petitions like these really accomplish. A fleeting awareness of the issue followed by vague promises from the powers that be and, well, pretty much nothing after that. Like when everyone signed a petition to get Joseph Kony arrested. Now few even remember who he is.

Though there has been some good to come out of this. Major player Bruichladdich has promised to stand behind Compass Box and promised complete transparency about the Laddie. I can only hope that more brands follow suit and play their part. But that remains to be seen.

What does this have to do with my review? Well, the whole fracas was created thanks to SWA asking Compass Box to take down the recipe for two of their blends, This Is Not A Luxury Whisky & The Flaming Heart 15th Anniversary Edition.

Frankly, I think this whole drama did more good for Compass Box, and these two blends in particular, than the unnamed drinks giant that registered their complaint to the SWA in the first place. I for one couldn’t wait to get my hands on these whiskies and taste for my self what I was not allowed to find out!

And so here we are.

I’m a huge fan of The Flaming Heart and loved the 10th Anniversary Edition and this one is also nothing short of beautiful.

Here are the whiskies that have gone into the mix : 27.1% Caol Ila (re-fill American hogshead), 24.1% Clynelish (rejuvenated American hogshead), 10.3% of an un-named Highland Malt (New French Oak Hybrid Barrel) and 38.5% Caol Ila (from another re-fill American hogshead).

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 48.9% ABV

Nose: Lime. Smoke. Touch of peat. Touch of oak. Spicy. Fennel. Green tobacco. Nice and crisp. White melon rind. Quite savory. Some cumin. Like a spice rack. Green grape. Some salt. Fishnets. Green apple. It’s controlled. I can very easily tell where one whisky component starts and the other one ends. And that’s just confirming the art of the master blender. Solid. 23/25

Palate: Sharp. Whisp of smoke. Peat. Salt. Ground coffee beans. Oak. So much coconut. White pepper. Quite drying as it goes mid-palate. Citrus. That lime again. That apple. A little sooty. Quite herbal. Green berries. Once again quite beautifully composed. All the profiles are individually recognisable yet work brilliantly together. 23/25

Finish: Medium to long. Oak. Drying. Sea washed pebbles. And the tiniest hint of something bitter. 22/25

Overall Comments: What can I say? John Glaser has a habit of hitting it out of the park more than any other whisky maker I know. And this is no exception. To take four good quality whiskies and make them simply work. I just wish the finish could have been a touch better for this to be flawless. But I’m happy with what I’ve got.

Rating: 91

Compass Box Flaming Heart 10th Anniversary

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Distillery/Brand: Compass Box
ABV: 48.9%
Colour: Young Sauternes

Nose: 24
Taste: 23
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review
Compass Box are known for their unusual flavor profiles and their magnificent packaging. Sometimes they fall short but mostly they hit it out of the park. And this one has home-run written all over it.

A marriage of three different single malts, aged in American and French oak this has possibly one of the most complex noses found on a blended whisky.

The smoky peat, black salt and diesel hits you first. The sweetness comes through next on the back of marzipans dipped in creamy chocolate syrup in a stew of apples with a drizzle of pineapple citrus. Finally a touch of cigar box and tamarind for that extra layer of complexity.

The silky smooth delivery is chocolate sweet with candied orange brittle held together by that wonderfully balanced peaty smoke.

The oily finish is as complex as the nose with woody cinnamon on sandalwood and something a smidge bitter.

I would love to know what went into making this gem!

Sheer class.

Rating: 93