First released in 2006, Flaming Heart combined whisky matured in new French oak with the smoky Islay character. It was a popular blended malt and there have been four bottlings so far.
The latest fifth release is called ‘15th Anniversary Edition’ and celebrates the creation of Compass Box in 2000.
When it was launched, Compass Box provided the exact composition :
- 38,5% of Caol Ila 14yo from refill American oak hogsheads
- 27,1% of Caol Ila 30yo from refill American oak hogsheads
- 24,1% of Clynelish 20yo from rejuvenated American oak hogsheads
- 10,3% of married Clynelish / Teaninich / Dailuaine 7yo which was finished in new French oak hybrid barrels for at least two years
Apparently the Scotch Whisky Association received a complaint about the disclosure of this information. A maturation period or age may only be specified in the description, presentation or labelling of a spirit drink where it refers to the youngest alcoholic component. Although I get the reasoning behind this rule (i.e. to avoid producers claiming a blend is composed with Caol Ila 30yo when it contains only a couple of spoons), I see no harm in being completely open and disclosing the entire formula. In fact we should applaud such openness when most producers choose to go NAS and hide all details altogether!
In the meantime a whole list of distilleries and bottlers signed an open letter to the SWA asking for a change in regulations. I really hope it will only be a matter of time before this stupid rule is revised. Until this happens Compass Box can’t mention the ages of the components in official communications.
Compass Box Flaming Heart ‘15th Anniversary Edition’ (48,9%, Compass Box 2015, 12.060 btl.)
Nose: mostly the older Caol Ila profile. Very refined ashy notes, whiffs of antiseptics and worn leather. Some sweeter apples and marzipan in the background. Cinnamon. Light maritime touches, which nicely marries with the waxy Clynelish notes. Maybe not as full-bodied as a single malt Caol Ila, but excellent nonetheless.
Mouth: less delicate now, sharper, with much more peaty notes, smoke and pepper. Still quite leathery. Apples and berries. Hazelnuts. Then back to sooty notes and eucalyptus before it fades on waxy and oily notes, with a very light herbal bitterness.
Finish: quite long, smoky and medicinal, with an underlying fresh citrus note and a nutty dryness.
This is absolutely brilliant stuff, although I guess you can’t do much wrong when 65% is solid Caol Ila. Complex, mature and well composed – if anything it confirms that Compass Box is the king of premium blends. Around € 135.