Compass Box - The Circus

The Circus from Compass Box was released in March 2016 for in total 2490 bottles as a limited release at 49%. As we can expect from them off course not chill-filtered and with a natural colour to it. They tell us it has a suggested retail price of around 190 pounds. What can they tell us about this blended scotch whisky and how has it been made up?

‘If you’re looking for rainbows, look up to the sky.’
– Charlie Chaplin, The Circus, 1928

I have a long standing belief that there is a magic to certain combinations of Scotch whisky. Such blends – like the very best of circuses – have the capacity to take us outside of ourselves for just a moment, to elevate the senses beyond the everyday and – following the sentiment of Charlie Chaplin’s immortal clown – to raise our eyes upwards to consider horizons new. 

Such is the case with this whisky, for which we were lucky enough to uncover that rarest of finds – old parcels of Blended Scotch and Blended Grain whisky that had been aged pre-blended in cask for many years. In such parcels, what you get are whisky blends so seamless, so complex that they function for us as single components. We know little of the component distillery whiskies used in these blends for The Circus, only that they contain both single malt and single grain whiskies and that the ‘marrying casks’ are sherry butts. However, the provenance of the components isn't important to us now, as what we have are old casks containing whiskies that are extraordinary. 

Above all, share and enjoy. John Glaser, Whiskymaker

Part 1
Long-term marrying cask
Over 2/3 of the total maturation time took place in the marrying cask
Blended Scotch whisky parcel 1
Refill Sherry Butt
57,2% of  the total liquid volume

Part 2
Long-term marrying cask
Just 1/3 of the total maturation time took place in the marrying cask
Blended grain Scotch whisky
Refill Sherry Butt
26% of  the total liquid volume

Part 3
Benrinnes Distillery
First fill Sherry Butt
15,4% of  the total liquid volume

Part 4
Long-term marrying cask
Over 2/3 of the total maturation time took place in the marrying cask
Blended Scotch whisky parcel 2
Refill Sherry Butt
1,4% of  the total liquid volume

Lots of information, now lets have a look what I can find in this new expression. The thing is I like many of the Compass Box expressions very much so far and am a big fan of their work. But you start to wonder how far can they keep raising the bar? Each time something different, something else that makes people smile...

Hope they can keep amazing us in the future with these wonderful surprises and unexpected combinations. There is always lots of discussion surrounding these kind of bottlings looking at the price. I can understand that and cant also afford sadly to have all their bottlings at home. I wish. But looking at the content, not at the label or type, it sometimes is so nice to treat your self to a glass of something beautifully constructed don't you say? That is worth something I think...

There is a lot going on looking at the nose. Complex and rich. Black pepper, fennel, candied ginger, tum tum, spices, light tropical fruit note, cherries, vanilla, raisin, gingerbread, spekkoek, pistachios, soft banana note, red sweet apple, coconut water, soft leather and tobacco and also backed prunes rolled in bacon. Almost something of grilled sweet root vegetables also in there in the background. I keep discovering more and more...

A circus indeed going on here looking at the palate just as on the nose. Fresh, fruity, sweet, warm, creamy, nutty, having just like the nose different kind of flavour profiles, but it all works very well together. Balanced dram and you can find back clearly the interaction of the casks used. A good length of a sweet finish, reminding me of a sweet white wine and some white chocolate with crunchy cereal in it. Scoring it an 8,5 out of 10 for sure. Thanks Compass Box for sending over a sample to enjoy! Damn, another for the shopping/wish list :-) Please keep doing what you are doing...

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