Review: Compass 100% Nova Scotian Rye Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of compass distillers

Image courtesy of compass distillers

3 yrs; 30 gallon barrels
100% Unmalted Nova Scotia Rye
Distiller Compass (Halifax, NS)

This rye whisky is Compass’ first whisky, made from local rye. The distillery was keen to put forward a rye-forward whisky early on, but there is more whisky coming like blends of corn and rye whiskies, and others. The profile sought is that of American whiskies - big, oaky, and rich.

Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A (the first batch, yield of 630 bottles)

  • Bottling Date: 2020

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The whisky comes on immediately – densely oaky and spicy. Sharp oak, wet wood, hardwood forest, cinnamon, pear, dried apricot, toasted rye bread, mint, and sorrel – rye and oak, indeed, bring out loads of complexity. The palate is full of oak, vanilla, tannins up front, but underneath there is a deep array of spice, apple, molasses, and multigrain toast. Herbal notes wrap up the palate before oak, spice, rose, and vanilla take over on the finish. Complex stuff!

Quite a nice effort for Compass’ first whisky. It is quite oaky and doesn’t have any of the raw, oily characteristics that many young whiskies can have.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average at $44.22/500 ml. It’s nice to see more products coming from small producers that have the ability to compete against the global whisky market in price and quality.