Compass Box was launched in 2000 by the American John Glaser, who was previously International Marketing Director at Johnnie Walker. To promote his whisky, John travelled through London visiting pubs and bars with samples and, in idiosyncratic style, handing out business cards billing himself as “John Glaser – Whisky Zealot”.
Compass Box’s modus operandi and strong work ethic is what sets them apart as an independent bottler and blender like no other. Compass Box buy individual casks and focus on creating a craftsman-like boutique product. None of their bottlings are chill-filtered, nor is any colouring added and are all married exclusively in American oak. This brings the characteristic sweetness to the whisky.
A rich, medium-bodied blended malt Scotch whisky, Oak Cross combines vanilla characters from American oak and spicy, clove-like characters from French oak.
Compass Box begin by sourcing whiskies from three single malt distilleries; one for its ethereal fruity character, one for its enchanting perfume and one that lends a complex and substantial structure to the blend.
All are aged in American oak casks before a portion is placed into innovative hybrid casks featuring heavily toasted new French oak heads. These give the whisky an added richness and spice-like complexity.
By carefully blending back the French oak-aged whisky with its American oak-aged forebear, Compass Box are able to create a refined, rich, but well-mannered malt whisky, with fruity aspects that will remind you of baked apple or pears, complemented by a rich, toasty oak character.
Nose: Light, stewed fruit, ginger, spice, toffee apple, stewed fruits.
Palate: Tart fruit, red apples, tannic, honey, tiny hint of Christmas spice.
Finish: Oak, malt, spicy sweetness, milk.