Compass Box Hedonism

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Distillery/Brand: Compass Box | ABV: 43% | Colour: Young Sauternes
Nose: 22 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 88

Review
I’ve been on a bit of a Compass Box run lately thanks to them being in the spotlight because of the whole transparency issue. I’ve written extensively about that in my other reviews so I think I’m going to park that gripe where I can’t see it any more.

Other than really pretty labels Compass Box has the unique ability of mixing whiskies together and making some damn fine blends. While they usually use single malts Hedonism is 100% blended grain whisky.

Grain whiskies from Cameron Bridge, Carsebridge, Cambus, Port Dundas or Dumbarton are used in putting this blend together and then left to marry in a rejuvenated or re-fill American oak barrel for up to two years.

The result is an extremely delicate, sweet and floral whisky. Those who know me know that I like big strong flavors but once in a while it’s nice to sit back and experience the sweeter, more subtle, side of life.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 43% ABV

Nose: So sweet! Full of fruits. Sweet drops. Candy. Fondant. White chocolate. Hazelnut. Bananas. Touch of oak. Bubble gum. Coconut cream. Vanilla. Lots of perfume. Tangerine. Jeez Louise I have seldom put my nose in something this sweet. I like it but perhaps it’s way too sweet for some. 22/25

Palate: Medium body. Creamy mouthfeel. Coconut cream. Vanilla. Quite oily if you ask me. Robust. Very floral. Touch of oak. Green tobacco. Mild peppers. Bubble gum. Pink Tutti Fruity ice cream. I think I’ve mentioned how sweet this is. 22/25

Finish: Long. Lovely. Very fruity. Vanilla. Oak. 22/25

Overall Comments: OK I know I’ve made it sound like this is literally the sweetest thing you’ll ever put in your mouth (insert dirty thought here) but to be honest it’s delicate and subtle enough to make you really like it. I never liked sweet before but ever since I quite smoking I’ve developed a bit of a sweet tooth. Which probably explains why I like it.

Rating: 88

Bains Cape Mountain Whisky

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Distillery/Brand: Bains | Region: South Africa | ABV: 43% | Color: Young Sauternes
Nose: 22 | Taste: 21 | Finish: 21 | Balance: 21 | Rating: 85

Review
I like a little variety in my single malt diet so I’m always on the lookout for expressions that are off the beaten path. Recently I was invited to a friends’ place for a World Whisky tasting which was attended by a bunch of enthusiastic newbies.

In my role as overall whisky brand ambassador for the evening I had to do a bit of reading up on the expressions for the evening lest I got blind-sighted.

This expression is the first single grain whisky from South Africa out of The James Sedgwick Distillery located in Bainskloof Pass in Wellington (45 minutes from Cape Town).

Made from 100% wheat distilled in column stills the spirit is then matured for five years in first-fill bourbon casks. It’s named after Andrew Geddes Bain, South Africa’s most famous road engineer who was responsible for building the first roads in Wellington. This has been bottled at 43%

Nose: Quite sweet. Bit bourbony. Must be all those first-fill casks. Licorice. Chocolate. Soft dates. Clove. Cinnamon. Oak. Banana. Men’s aftershave. Candy floss. It’s not bad. Column stills really produce some strong aromas. The chocolate is the strongest here.

Palate: That same mild chocolate. Marzipan. Cinnamon spices. Apricot. Assorted berries. Some wild. Some red. Some blu. Overall the palate’s a bit weak in my opinion. I think a few additional percentage points would have really hit the spot.

Finish: Medium. Oily. That same mild chocolate.

It seems to have won a lot of awards. Maybe it was for earlier batches or I have no idea what a great whisky tastes like. I think it’s not bad. Worth a try, that’s for sure.

Rating: 85