Tag Archives: Summer Dram

Compass Box Great King Street – Artist’s Blend

Distillery: Compass Box
Name: Great King Street – Artist’s Blend
Region: Highland
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £40 (70cl)
Nose: Light, sweet, vanilla, pear drops, apple strudel
Taste: Creamy, light, subtle spice, apple strudel
Finish: Medium, well rounded, slight oakiness
Rating: 6/10
Following my review of Spice Tree, Compass Box were kind enough to send me 3 samples from their range,  all different styles, to help me better understand blended whiskies and hopefully to convert me towards blends a little more, the Spice Tree gave me a hefty shove over to the world of blends though to be honest 🙂
First off we have a blend of Grain and Malt whiskies in the form of Great King Street – Artist’s Blend. It consists of 46% Lowland grain, 45% Highland malt and 9% Speyside malt that have various wood finishes, First Fill American Oak, New French Oak and First Fill Sherry Butt.
So onto the nose, and I am impressed straight away, it has a refreshing, citrus nose but with the sweet, vanilla notes hitting first, then giving way to pear drops and then apple strudel, which I love.
The palate is light and refreshing yet with a creamy body to it and just a slight spice present, beside the ABV heat. There is also just a hint of the apple strudel there again. The finish is a little plain and short but it does have good body and just a slight oaky dryness at the end.
The palate is relatively simple compared to the lovely nose but it is a very pleasant, easy drinking dram. It does open up quite a bit once left to aerate for 15 minutes for so and then greater resembles the nose. It is a great summer dram to sit and relax with, maybe whilst chatting with a few fiends.
Thanks to Compass Box for the sample.

Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin

Distillery: Laphroaig
Name: Cairdeas Origin
Region: Islay
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 51.2%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: ?
Nose: Citrus, orchard fruits, slight saltiness, fresh
Taste: Peaty, sweet, light, smooth, spicy
Finish: Long, smoky, warm, spicy
Rating: 7/10
Cairdeas is Gaelic for friendship and this bottling was released to celebrate the popularity of the ‘Friends of Laphroaig’ (FOL) programme.
Unusual on the nose this one, I don’t really get and peat coming through which is unexpected for a Laphroaig. It is light, fruity with a citrus cleanness to it and a slight salty note to it adding to the freshness.
The palate is also light and refreshing but with a wonderful smoothness to it, it also has a great mouth coating quality as well. The peat starts off quite subtle with the sweetness being the initial power but the peat just builds and builds, easing the sweetness. This leads onto the long, smoky finish that is both warm and spicy. I left this to aerate for a while and when coming back to it there was a strong coffee flavour to it, it actually really worked well.
At 51.2% I was really expecting it to have a bite to it, but it does not really. There is some alcohol burn on the palate but not much and I was quite happy to drink it without water. I did try adding some however and this did take that small bite away but the warm, spicy notes remain. The nose is a little lighter and fruitier with water.
Thanks to Tom (@Tom_Blumsom) for the sample.

Laphroaig QA Cask

Distillery: Laphroaig
Name: QA Cask
Region: Islay
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £48 (100cl)
Nose: Slightly sweet, light peat, fresh, floral, metallic
Taste: Peat, slight sweetness, liquorice, watery
Finish: Long, lightly peaty, ashy dryness
Rating: 5/10
The QA Cask is a travel retail only bottling and is matured firstly in ex-bourbon barrels, followed by charred American white oak casks (Quercus Alba in Latin), which is where it gets it name.
The nose is more subtle than expected for a Laphroaig, there is a slight sweetness there and the peak it also quite tame. It has a light, fresh aroma to it but with a slight metallic edge at the end.
Onto the palate and I find it a little disappointing to be honest, it has the peat, nothing too powerful but it is in the foreground. There is also a little sweetness and liquorice towards the end but it is just lacking body, for me it needs to be at least 43%, maybe even 46% to get the most out of it. The finish is quite long consisting of peat and ash.
It has a pleasant aroma to it and the lack of body does mean that it is an easy drinking dram, it is quite light for a Laphroaig and could be good on a hot summer’s day.
Thanks to Tom (@Tom_Blumsom) for the sample.

Aberlour 16 Year Old

Distillery: Aberlour
Name: N/A
Region: Speyside
Age: 16
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £45 (70cl)
Nose: Light fruits, floral, woody
Taste: Light, sherry, fruity, spicy, oaky
Finish: Medium, warm, spicy, dryish
Rating: 6/10
Not what I was expecting from the nose given it’s colour and sherry maturation. It is light and floral rather than rich and dark fruit intensive likeI was expecting, a pleasant surprise. The palate it also surprisingly light, still sherry influences there but it is all delivered in a lighter manor, except the spice, that one still kicks you in the teeth a little. The finish is of medium length but with a lovely warmth from the spices and just a little dryness from the oak.
Not everyone’s favourite this one from what I have read. I think it is because it is quite light and people might not be expecting that given it’s sherry finish. It’s quite an easy drinking one however, maybe it is because first-fill bourbon casks are used as well, this may help to lighten the whole thing. A pleasant summer, sherried, dram I think.