Review: Great King Street Glasgow Blend Blended Scotch Whisky (Compass Box) / by Jason Hambrey

Malt and Grain Whiskies (see below)
Distiller Multiple (Scotland)

I, like most whisky connoisseurs, love Compass Box - a company focused on premium blended Scotch whisky - both blended malt whiskies (i.e. a mix of single malts) and blended whiskies (a mix of single grain and malt whiskies). They always release terrific information as to the makeup of their blends, and the quality is high across the board. Their products, to boot, are all bottled without colouring or chill-filtration (providing better mouthfeel).

Great King Street is Compass Box’s brand for their blended scotch, and this Glasgow blend only recently came into their core line alongside the terrific Artist's Blend. The whisky’s inspiration comes from the big-bodied style of many of the 19th century blending houses, blended particularly with smoke and sherry notes. The blend is bottled at 43%, without colour or chill-filtration.

A typical vatting to compose this blend: 34% grain whisky from a Cameron Bridge in a first fill American oak barrel, 35% Benrinnes from a sherry butt, 17% Laphroaig from a rejuvenated hogshead, 8% Clynelish from a first fill American oak barrel, 2 % miltonduff from a first fill American oak barrel, and 4% of a blend of clynelish, teaninich, and dailuaine in a custom toasted oak hybrid barrel (i.e. American oak base and French oak barrel heads).

Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L18 02 15 3 09:43 B9

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Nose: Chocolate, peat, rubber, vanilla, cacao, lemon peel, and a bit spicy too – quite complex, and very nicely integrated.

Taste: A bit ashy-smoky, with candied lemon and orange peel, and a good dosage of almonds and raisins underpinning the background. There’s also a bit of spice along with buttery vanilla on the end….it’s like fruitcake by a fireplace.

Finish: Full and well rounded, with vanilla, smoke, malt, oat cakes, and earth. It dies out fairly quickly though, but the tannins are still lightly felt. The peat lingers for a bit.

Fairly complex, and very well integrated – it could only gain from a little depth and a bit more complexity. You can tell, though, because of the integration – this is some good blending going on. At a recent tasting this was a favorite even put up against some other great whiskies which I’ve rated over 90.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High. A good catch.

Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2018

A classic! Rich, sherried aromas – baking spice, smoke, nuts, apples, raisins – the palate leads in with sharp smoke, offset lightly by smoke and a terrific richness in terms of mouthfeel. The above review stands for this bottle – but this time around I’m more impressed with the focus of the peat smoke – it comes in a rich flash, then fades to everything else – the sweet grain, the fruity, nutty sherry, and more dried fruit. It is integrated masterfully.

A terrific blended Scotch whisky.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, if you can find it.