May 312016
 

Now this is a more standard Compass Box malt blend, all matured in, mostly in first fill American standard barrels with the requisite Clynelish (48.2%) – always to be expected from Compass Box, with quite a bit of a far less common Glentauchers (36.7%), and a little bit of Balblair (10.8%) and Mortlach from a rejuvenated ASB (4.3%).

Photo Credit: Compass Box

In the accompanying brochure, it says that Enlightenment is John Glaser’s response to the regulations forbidding full disclosure of the ages of the whisky in the blend, and while The Circus did not enclose ages because they’re (presumably, according to the literature) not known, I would have expected this expression to have come out with full disclosure, EU regulations be damned. I’m sure John Glaser had his reasons, but when push came to shove this did not happen, and we were not enlightened….

Photo Credit: Compass Box

Photo Credit: Compass Box

Compass Box Enlightenment, Malt Blend, 5922 Bottles (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Light gold, with legs peeling off the necklace rather quickly, with quite a bit of residue.

Nose: The pear is the first thing that hits your nose, bordering a lovely Poire Williams, with a deep honey and vanilla, and touches of perfume and a hit of allspice. There’s a hint of wax with a touch of tumeric, and with time some distant peppermint candy, the striped type you see around Christmas. With yet more time, the malt appears to say hello.

Palate: Spicy and sweet, with a dry oaky tannic bitterness to it, with some pepper, honey and a bit of lemon rind.

Linger: Dry, leaving somewhat of a waxy feel on the tongue and teeth and a light peppery spice on the tongue and gums.

Conclusion

Far more traditionally Compass Box that, say, The Circus, this is a lovely highland style blended malt (yes, I know both Glentauchers and Mortlach are in Speyside, but the style – if there is such a thing – is Highland). It’s excellent whisky, with a very pleasurable nose, but to my palate it was too balanced (if there is such a thing, to me there is). It was neither sweet enough nor, going the other way, bitter enough, nor spicy enough, taking it that way. It’s a perfect, well made, middle of the road whisky, and I’m sure it will, thus, become a favorite dram for many drinkers. Personally, being one for bold flavors, I found it a little less to my taste than, say, Compass Box’s outstanding Oak Cross.

Official sample provided by Compass Box.