I recently went through a major life changing milestone. One which I have to admit I had been dreading for a least a year previously. That milestone was….turning 30! The only consolation was a “celebratory” dram but what to choose?

The prices of older (much much older!) single malt whisky has become out of the budget of most people. If not outside the budget then outside the budget where you would feel comfortable to consume such golden nectar. In the UK the prices of 30 year old single malt is between £300 and £3000 so what is a drinker to do?

A premium blended malt is the answer I came up with from Compass Box. Blends and blended malts do not occupy the same price points as their “better” single malt siblings. There are then good value options especially in the premium end of there respective markets to  be had. This particular bottle meets my needs for a special bottling based on my age and an island very close to my heart.

The Brand

Compass Box are a whisky maker brand based in London with stocks maturing in Scotland. They produce a small range of core blended and blended malt expressions with a regular supply of limited editions bottles as well. The brand is well regarded and most, if not all, products have been well received by consumers.

Compass Box have been a driving force in the campaign for greater transparency on age information on whisky bottles. The current rules are that only the youngest barrels age in the recipe can be displayed on the bottle. This is, of course, fine if it was not for the unfortunate fact many casual consumers equate age and quality.

What Compass Box had been doing was printing on card inside the bottle the complete recipe of their blend including distillery name, barrel type, age of liquid and proportion used in the blend. Exactly the kind of information I want to see in fact. However, someone (think multi national corporation – probably) made a complaint and it was upheld.

To poke fun at the problem they have been banned from solving a “3 year old whisky” was released for £200 in 2016 which only contains a relative teaspoon of 3 year old whisky against positively well aged mature stocks.

To add your support to the transparency campaign please go to http://www.compassboxwhisky.com/transparency/

The Dram


The Flaming Heart 15th Anniversary edition was bottled in 2015 with 12,060 bottles being produced. Each bottle was naturally produced without artificial colouring and without aggressive chill filtration. The cost was around £100 in the UK but are all sold out now. With the bottle comes this card outlining as much information as possible but which is no longer allowed to be distributed.


Tasting Notes

Colour – runny honey

Nose – immediately a briny coastal experience. For some reason I keep imagining a dusty drafty room in an old Victorian building when I smell this. Anyway, moving on from my weird imagination a vibrant freshness makes itself known with cherries and raspberry notes cutting through.

Palate – A silky oily texture with orange zest,  some raisins complementing some caramel chocolate. All this with a single deep rooted smoke throughout which wraps all the flavours together.

Finish – A long lingering ashy finish completes the experience which following on from the palate is wrapping around some fresher red fruit notes. A strong brewed tea note is evident as well.

Final Thoughts

This was a suitable experience for a special birthday anniversary. From the excellent and artistic packaging to the complex and interesting flavour experience. I had kept this bottle unopened for a little over a year which is a pretty long time for me at the moment. It was certainly worth the wait and one I will make last for as long as possible.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.