Compass Box Spice Tree Extravaganza (70cl, 46%)

Compass Box Spice Tree Extravaganza (70cl, 46%)

This was bottled in August 2016 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the once-controversial blend. Using the regular The Spice Tree blend as a starting point, the Extravaganza increased the amount of sherry matured whiskies to the blend, as well as the ages.

Transparency: 32.6% Glen Ord, first-fill sherry butt, 17.2% Benrinnes, first fill sherry butt, 2.6% Allt-A-Bhaine, first fill American standard barrel, 27.7% Highland malt blend, hybrid cask - light/medium toast, 4.3% Highland malt blend, refill hybrid cask, 15.6% Highland malt blend, hybrid cask - heavy toast (all three are 60% Clynelish, 20% Dailuaine and 20% Teaninich)

Despite brands like Ballantine’s, Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal remaining the best-selling Scotch whisky brands in the world, the blended Scotch category played second fiddle to the more fashionable single malt market in the second half of the 20th century. This remains largely true today, however in recent decades the perception of the blend has improved. The company at the forefront of this is Compass Box, founded in 2000 by John Glaser, a former marketing director for the Johnnie Walker brand. Their core range consists of The Spice Tree, The Peat Monster, Story of the Spaniard, Oak Cross and Hedonism blends, and they regularly produce limited editions as well. The company prides itself on its boundary-pushing approach to its creations, and on occasion, boundary-crossing creations, such as the original Spice Tree in 2005 which was banned by the Scotch Whisky Association for its use of suspended staves in casks. Despite investment from Bacardi in 2015, the company continues to push the envelope and rebel against tradition, most notably in its Scotch Whisky Transparency campaign, launched in 2016 following another disagreement with the SWA, this time about their detailed revealing of the recipes of their whiskies.

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