In 2022 Compass Box kicked off the Extinct Blends Quartet. It is a series of modern interpretations of great blended Scotch from the past. The first expression was Ultramarine, followed by Compass Box Delos.
The inspiration for Delos comes from Asyla, their own extinct blend which was available between 2001 and 2018. The idea was to capture its vibrancy and soothing sweetness, turning to older stocks to achieve this. Delos contains malt whisky from Glen Elgin, Imperial and Miltonduff, with around 17% of Cameronbridge grain whisky.
It was matured in first fill bourbon barrels, except for the Glen Elgin component which comes from re-charred American oak barrels.
Compass Box Delos (49%, OB ‘The Extinct Blends’ 2023, 5520 btl.)
Nose: kind of a lemonade for adults. Quite sweet, with pineapple and yellow apple, as well as rich vanilla and hints of honey. Hints of white grapes and faint marshmallow. Then some floral notes and honeyscuckle. The sweetness is toned down a little by candied citrus peels and fresh oak shavings, as well as a hint of old books.
Mouth: fruity spirit from active bourbon wood. There’s creamy apple and nectarine, with tangy lemon juice, green banana, grapefruit peelings and lime. White pepper and a firm woody side. It’s a combination of fruity notes and dry woodiness. Then some crème brûlée and a light leathery touch.
Finish: rather long, with more vanilla and peach coming out, as well as a louder hint of grain whisky and wood spice.
Perhaps a slightly simplistic blend, but if you’re a fan of bright fruitiness, that’s not a problem at all. As a blend, this is pretty great but I have trouble justifying the price – I’ve given the same score to a single malt Glen Elgin that was much cheaper. Available from The Whisky Exchange and Tyndrum Whisky for instance.