Whisky Advocate Award: Blended/Blended Malt Whisky of the YearFebruary 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.