Compass Box Spice Tree

Distillery: Compass Box
Name: Spice Tree
Region: Highland
Age: 10-11
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £39 (70cl)
Nose: Rich, vanilla, spicy (pepper), oak
Taste: Rich, smooth, slight sweetness, toffee, spicy
Finish: Long, warm, spicy, slight dryness
Rating: 7/10
I’ve heard a lot of good things said about Compass Box, and read many a praising review of their offerings, yet I have never got around to trying any. That had to be rectified! Now I may have mentioned it before that I am not a particularly big fan of blends, they often seem too much of a compromise for me, too smooth and without any really complexity. Lets hope Compass Box can convert me.
I decided to start with the Spice Tree as it has a strong name, makes me thing it might actually have something about it. It is a blended malt made from Highland malts.
Well it kicks off to a good start, the nose is rich with some complexity. It has a good balance of sweetness with a hint of oak and a nice kick of spice initially. The spice eases quite quickly as it aerates but remains at an un-intrusive level.
That richness is carried on to the smooth and mouth-coating palate. The vanilla sweetness is there but takes a back seat, giving way to the richer toffee sweetness and peppery spice that seems to go on forever, warming the palate as it goes. There is a hint of dryness on the finish as well.
With water – Nose: much lighter, fruitier with some cola aroma there too, strange. The palate becomes smoother, with the vanilla sweetness taking a step forward and toffee sweetness a step back. It also emphasises the peppery notes a little.
Well, I’m sold. I knew I would find a blend I enjoy a some point, and this is it. Pretty accurate name as well, delivers what it says on the label.