Compass Box Menagerie is a recent blended malt composed around Mortlach single malt (around 43%, 18 year old, recharred barrels), topped up with more or less equal parts of Deanston, Compass Box’ proprietary Highland Malt blend and Glen Elgin malt, as well as a small dose of Laphroaig (5%). All components are between 11 years and 20 years of age.
Compass Box explains we have focused on parcels of malt whisky that in addition to their fruity or spicy charms have something animalic about them just beneath the surface.
Compass Box Menagerie (46%, OB 2021, 7741 btl.)
Nose: quite bright, with tart berries and green apples, as well as meadow flowers, slowly getting fuller with rice pudding, apricots, sweet lemon and candied ginger. Light oak spice and a subtle charred note. Hints of damp oak in the distance.
Mouth: fruity sweetness, but the oily and smoky Laphroaig hint is immediately noticeable in the background. Nice. Apples and honeydew melons, as well as a faint hint of papaya. Creamy pastry, echoes of latte with honey, as well as some aniseed and pepper. Fades on light toffee, always with this nice medicinal edge.
Finish: medium long. Hints of dried mango make place for oak spice and a leathery feeling. Some vanilla as well.
A really clever composition. There are generous fruity notes, but they are backed by oak spice, light chocolate and meaty malt. Add a hint of Islay whisky and you have a highly drinkable all-round whisky. Be sure to put it on your radar. Available from The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt, among others.