Sunday, February 10, 2019

Scotch Review: 'Hedonism' by Compass Box Company

I like the Compass Box Company.  They put out some really interesting releases.  So, when a reader suggested I continue to explore the product line of this innovative independent bottler, the question was 'where to next?'  My reader suggested 'Hedonism.'

'Hedonism' is different from nearly all other offerings of Compass Box or frankly most other Scotch brands period.    How is it different?  Simple.  It's not a single malt, blended malt or blended Scotch whisky.  Hedonism is a 'blended grain whisky.'

A blended grain whisky from Scotland will have a little bit of malted barley but is principally a mash bill of other grains like wheat, corn, oats, etc.  The various grains are cheaper to acquire than barley.  The lower cost grains and the whisky they produce is the chief reason they are used to bulk up blended Scotches.

Additionally, grain whiskies don't enjoy the best reputation because they tend to be young and often aged in inferior casks.  So the taste aint the greatest leading to a less than stellar reputation.  Think of say Ballantine's Finest, a dreadful blend in my opinion.  It is made up of a lot of young grain whiskies that I think were aged in lower quality casks (e.g. not 1st fill or even 2nd fill).

Grain whisky can be good whisky.  It can be a delight, but the whiskies need age, careful blending, and good wood management.  What would happen if you had an attentive master blender, using aged grain whiskies that matured in first and second fill casks?  Would it be good?  This is what Hedonism by Compass Box attempts to do.


Blended Grain Whisky



Age Statement

Artificial Color

Chill Filtration?

Wood Management
Aged in 100% first fill American oak or rejuvenated American oak hogsheads.

Nose (undiluted)
Sweet breads, orange blossoms, honey and buttercups.

Palate (undiluted)
Sweetness but not cloyingly so. Creamy, vanilla, sponge cake, white cake bread, Dutch butter cookies.  Oven warm dinner rolls.

Finish (undiluted)
Transition from sweet to dry with kitchen spices of kosher salt, tarragon and oregano.  Nice structure of wheat and cereals, and lemon pith too, but just faintly.

General Impressions
I really like this and demonstrates that you do not have to have a single malt in order to enjoy a quality Scotch whisky.

Not sherried and very little if any peat.  When this dram passes your lips you are left with a nice lingering spiciness.

I think this would be very well liked by the novice Scotch fan.  A newbie would like this.  Old whisky dogs might be taught a new trick with this one too.

If you like Glenmorangie 12 Nectar DO'r or Glenfiddich 15 Solera, then you will like this.

This tastes like pineapple, honey, malty with some lemon juice in the background.  If I had a slight criticism, it would be that it is quite sweet.  However, I don't mind it.  For this reason, I really think the Scotch newbie would enjoy this dram.

A glass of sunshine waiting for you!

Highly recommended!


Jason Debly