Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Whisky Review: The Spice Tree by Compass Box Co.

After many years of going to the gym, lifting weights, treadmill and even a few aerobics classes, I have burnt out.  I can't do the gym anymore to the point where I would pull into the parking lot with a feeling of dread and say 'screw it', and head back home.

Maybe it's age too.  I am not as energetic as I once was nor as ambitious about my health, career or anything for that matter.  But, I do know I have to keep doing something or all my ailments (diabetes, etc) will go into overdrive.  So, I have taken up walking mostly in parks and around my neighborhood.  Sometimes, I can cajole Roger or Keith to do an hour long walk, but other times I am on my own.

During today's walk I was pondering what nip of whisky would be fitting for combating the chilly weather following my leafy jaunt.  Couldn't be peaty.  I just was not in the mood for a lot of peat and smoke.  Sherry?  Port?  For sure!  A heavy mouthfeel, velvety, yeah.  My mind sifted through possibilities like Macallan 12, Glendronach, Balvenie, and then I thought those are expensive (well not Glendronach but the others are) and so I came upon another contender that excited me: The Spice Tree.

While it is not a single malt, it can hold its own against these more expensive age statement single malts.  The Spice Tree is a blended malt, a combination of Clynelish (60%), Teaninich (20%) and Dailuaine (20%) malts that make for a brilliant Scotch whisky.   Also an affordable spirit too!  I am worrying about my pocketbook, in addition to my health, as I get older too.  I am not yet watching Coronation Street, but who knows what my interests will be as a senior.

The other added bonus with The Spice Tree is that, unlike Balvenie, Macallan and others, here we have a non-chill filtered and no artificial color spirit, which I really think it contributes great complexity of flavour.  While it does not have an age statement, this whisky delivers a solid flavour with texture that tells me the master blender made sure to have just enough older malts in the mix.  This is no simple dram.  The other reason for the complexity is the ABV at 46%!

Blended malt.

Very reasonable.

Age Statement

Cork stopper.


Nose (diluted)
Earthy, sherry oak, Bordeaux wine, roses.

Palate (diluted)
Creamy, heavy English cream laden with red berries and spicy currants, warm cinnamon rolls, rich and velvety, vanilla, claret, truffles, a very dry Bordeaux.

Finish (diluted)
Drying cranberries, tangy, some wild honey mixing with the Bordeaux.

General Impressions
As you have probably figured out, this is really good whisky.  Good price, good ABV level, good everything!  Clynelish is the core malt here and you really taste it.  The sherry and the casks it came from is done to perfection here.

A word about water.  You will note that my tasting note is based on diluting the spirit with some water.  I really think to a double pour you need about a teaspoon of water.  This whisky improves with water and neat is not optimal.

My hour long walk is over and now I can enjoy this dram having finished this post.

Have a great day!

Jason Debly


  1. Geelong is a 'backwater' when it comes to whisky. Anything outside the 'norm' is bloody hard to get. Been able to source a bottle ... bad news is it's up in Melbourne. Sits around the $80 which is good. Next time we head up the highway to the big smoke I will pop in to check it out.
    AL (from OZ)

  2. It's more the toasted oak flavors rather than the sherry cask influence that I find so appealing in this excellent malt blend, but everything is very well integrated. Spice Tree and Clynelish 14 are priced the same where I buy my spirits, so deciding between the two is not an easy choice!

    P.S. - I need to get back into a regular exercise routine myself, but when I get home in the evening the recliner has such a gentle, seductive call. MUST...RESIST... ;)

    - Paul M. in Houston

  3. Yup, good oak notes.

    On another topic, the Texans are having a great season. I will see them on December 2nd take the Browns down!


  4. Yeah, let's go for 9 in a row! Honestly, not a huge NFL fan, but it's nice to see the home team doing so well.

    - Paul M. in Houston

  5. Yes, Spice Tree is an excellent whiskey, especially if you can find the bottling that used inner staves made of European oak rather than new technology that uses European oak-made tops (talk to John Glaser about this - he has an excellent story about Scottish Whiskey Association ban).