Compass Box Monster, 54.9%

Price: $85 Issue: Summer 2004 Reviewer: John Hansell

(Exclusive to Park Ave. Liquors, New York, NY) This is a vatting of two single malts: the malty and sometimes smoky Ardmore and the always smoky and spicy Caol Ila. The whisky expresses smartly complex aromas of smoky bonfire smothered with peat, with notes of tar, olives, freshly ground pepper, and seaweed. A sweet maltiness (from the Ardmore?) binds the flavors together. On the palate, the whisky begins sweet, then the powerful peat smoke emerges, yielding to olives, peppery spices, and seaweed. The finish is long and powerful with the peat smoke again emerging and lingering on seemingly forever. A monster indeed. This whisky's complexity demonstrates the virtues of vatting. Many smoky whiskies have nothing else going on behind the cloak of smoke. This one does.