Yesterday afternoon something monumental happened. Like Moses stepping down off the mountain to deliver the commandments of God to the Israelites, USPS handed me a package with Compass Box Whiskey. In case you don’t know, Compass Box is a specialist Scotch Whiskey maker. Compass Box promises to craft scotch whiskies that appeal to a variety of tastes and they certainly deliver on this promise. In this review, we’re tackling two of Compass Box’s huge scotch whiskies: Peat Monster and Great King St. Though, keep a sharp lookout in the coming days for Part II of this review!
Peat Monster, obviously, is a peat whiskey. A blended malt peat whiskey to be exact. For the uninitiated, peat whiskey might not make a whole lot of sense. Scotland is covered in what is called peat, what essentially boils down to a layer of soil made up of dead plant matter. Ok, so now you’re thinking….yum, dirt whiskey. Nope, peat has an interesting historical use in Scotland. Scotlanders would dig up and dry peat to use as fuel. Dried peat works sort of like charcoal. After drying, whiskey makers would use the peat to heat the stills. Though, the smoky characteristics come from drying the malt used in the whiskey with the peat.
The variables of drying malt with peat result in a really complex scotch whiskey…and I mean really complex. There’s so much going on in Peat Monster. Here are some of our notes from a tasting.
Nose – smoky, leather, apple, grains, peat
Mouth feel: medium, a little syrupy.
Palate: peat, oak, leather, smoke, smoked meat
Finish: more oak, florals, fruit (maybe grape), malt, alcohol, dryness
Adding a few drops of water makes a huge difference. All of the dry alcohol vanishes at the end and each sip is far more smooth.
Peat Monster is such an interesting whiskey. It definitely takes a few sips to really get a feel for what it’s about and what exactly is going on in it, but it’s so worth it. Drinking it neat is great, but intense. I think adding a few drops of water really opens it up and makes it more enjoyable. Peat Monster is a solid 5/5
Great King Street
The second scotch whiskey we tried from Compass Box is Great King St. Great King St. is a blended scotch whiskey with some really interesting characteristics. Compass Box includes the following about crafting a blended scotch whiskey
“Due to the preponderance of poorly made, inexpensive Blended Scotch whiskies on the market, many people assume any bottle of Scotch bearing the term ‘blended’ is somehow inferior. Not if you make it the way we do. “
Great King St. is Aged in three different casts American Oak, French Oak, Sherry Butts (hahah butts) and it definitely comes through in the nose and the taste.
Nose: very sweet, cereal, citrus, apples, vanilla, candy, smores
Palate: full bodied, rich, fruit-driven, creamy
Finish: wine, fruit, spice
Great King St. is such a different Whiskey in comparison to the Peat Monster, but different in such a delicious way. We give Great King St. a 4/5