Whisky Advocate

Review: Compass Box Flaming Heart

October 27th, 2010

Compass Box Flaming Heart (10th Anniversary bottling), 48.9%, $105
A marriage of three different single malts, aged in American and French oak. This whisky shows the advantage of marrying whiskies from more than one distillery (when properly done). Vibrant, with a complex array of fruit (orchard fruit, sultana), sweetness (light toffee, marzipan, honeyed malt), spice (creamy vanilla, mocha, warming pepper), smoke (tar, smoked olive, coal), and lesser notes of toasted almond and beach pebbles. More smoke and tar on the palate than the nose, yet always in balance. Well played!

I like this version (the third Flaming Heart release and second one brought to the U.S.) better than the last one imported here. I love the balance on this one, all the way through to the finish. (For more information on this expression of Flaming Heart, here’s the fact sheet from Compass Box.)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 95

13 Responses to “Review: Compass Box Flaming Heart”

  1. DavidG says:

    Any word on the exact identity of the constituent parts and/or the age of each?

    • Pat T says:

      From the back of the bottle (lucky me): 61% Northern Highland – fruit/perfume. 39% Islay/island – smoky/peat. 47% refill american oak – vanilla. 34% first fill american oak – vanilla cream. 19% new french oak – clove spice. This whisky is lip smacking delicious. Luscious nose, palate and finish. A great marriage of styles.

  2. Red_Arremer says:

    “Beach pebbles” is a good note. I tasted some from Glaser’s flask at a 10th anniversary tasting– It seemed great, but honestly I was already gone (there were nice big pours & the chick my friends dating didn’t want most of hers so I graciously took care of them for her :) )

  3. Anster says:

    ‘beach pebbles’?

    • Red_Arremer says:

      It’s funny when people give non-food notes isn’t it, Anster? You wonder “did they eat or lick this stuff… are they just imagining… maybe they’re basing it off the smell?” When I saw the pebble note, it immediately resonated with me– I think because when I was young I actually did lick a shell or pebble on the beach.

      I’m interested John– when you gave the pebble note, on what were you basing your impression of what a beach pebble tastes like?

      • John Hansell says:

        To me, in addition to “sea” characteristics on the palate, I feel there’s a mineral/textural component to the whisky.

        • mongo says:

          that to me says clynelish and/or caol ila.

        • Anster says:

          Fair enough John. Being from the east coast of Scotland and living on the west I always find that the beaches smell (and if I were so disposed to lick anything, no doubt taste) so very different from area to area that I was thrown a little by that one, particularly as your tasting notes seldom stray into the realm of the esoteric. Still you were clearly riding the wave so fair play. Care to offer a guess as to the origin of the smoke in this one?

  4. Mark C says:

    Probably both. Compass Box use those two extensively.

  5. Daan van R. The Netherlands says:

    To bad it’s a 70 cl. bottle……….should be 1 ltr……………..
    Amazing great stuff.

  6. Gal says:

    Indeed. lovely lovely.

    i wonder how come prices in the USA are so cheap compared to the UK.
    the thing is bottled in the UK@!

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