Whisky Advocate

Whisky Advocate Award: Blended/Blended Malt Whisky of the Year

February 7th, 2012

Compass Box Great King Street, 43%, $45

Two outstanding contenders battled it out for this award this year: The Mackinlays ‘Shackleton’ whisky and The Compass Box Great King Street blend. Both tasted great, both took the category into new territory, and both showed what can be achieved through clever and thoughtful blending.

The Mackinlays ‘Shackleton’ whisky is a blended malt whisky — a mix of malt whiskies with no grain — and recreated the whisky found in the Antarctic camp abandoned by Ernest Shackleton. It was well packaged, was relatively well priced, and tasted great.

But the Mackinlays is all about history and the past. Compass Box Great King Street, a sweet citrusy and vanilla-doused blend, is all about the future. John Glaser and team don’t make bad whiskies, but often they have been esoteric, small batch, and all but unavailable to many of us. This blend is different, and is an attempt by Compass Box to introduce quality blends to a new generation. It had a relatively modest price point and brought the artisan skills of Compass Box to a new audience. It’s that rarity: a blend that drinks well on its own but tastes great when mixed. More than that, it’s perfectly placed to bring blends back into vogue. Anyone for a highball?  —Dominic Roskrow

Tomorrow, the Speyside Single Malt of the Year will be announced.

No Responses to “Whisky Advocate Award: Blended/Blended Malt Whisky of the Year”

  1. Fantastic! Excellent choices when you take into consideration quality, taste & value. Two of my favorite releases from the past year.

  2. Gal Granov says:

    A very enjoyable dram indeed. well made, thought of.
    good stuff from Joh Glaser & Co.
    well deserved.

  3. Jacob says:

    “The Mackinlays ‘Shackleton’ whisky … was well packaged, was relatively well priced, and tasted great.

    Wait, what?

    In any case, kudos to Compass Box on their innovative whiskies. They are truly one of a small handful of outfits that you wonder and anticipate what they’ll do next.

  4. Chap says:

    I would have preferred breaking out the vatted malts (to heck with the SMWA) and the blends, since my preference is to go without grain whisky. Ah well.

  5. An enormous thank you from everyone at Compass Box for this award. You have made our year. We might just have a little (or big) glass of GKS to celebrate. Above all, share and enjoy!

  6. Mark says:

    I’m going to have to agree with Jacob and question the “relatively well priced” comment with regards to the Shackleton. Any whisky is more expensive here (Toronto), but there are a lot of great whiskies to be bought at $250 which is what it’s priced at here. I will agree that it was well packaged and marketed and that if it was priced lower I would pick it up.
    Either way, I’m glad to see Compass Box take the award home; I can’t think of anyone who’s doing more for blends than they are right now.

  7. Louis says:

    I had a lot of fun playing around using GKS to make scotch based coktails. Using single malt scotch for the same purpose sometimes causes feelings of guilt (is this allowed? will the whisky police come by and confiscate my bottle?), and also endless wondering if a different malt would have been better. Thanks John, for bringing back some fun into whisky appreciation.

  8. Morgan Steele says:

    Well done, Compass Box! I bought two bottles each of the Mackinlay’s and GKS. Both whiskies were two of my favorites for the year from any category. The GKS is far more available and accessible so, hopefully, folks will take advantage of sampling this blend.

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