20 July 2011

Great King Street Artist's Blend "A Dramaissance"

Depending on what side of the dramming fence you sit on, ten years can be considered either a long or very short period of time in the world of whisky. Though for John Glaser the whisky revolutionary behind Compass Box, the last decade has been a timeless trailblaze of truly dramtabulous proportions.

Having produced a whole mantel of chic, unique and boutique blended bottlings, now sees the dawn of a new decade and indeed a new chapter for Compass Box.

Their ever innovating and non imitating style of delivering a product that's traditional in its heart and values but contemporary in its substance and delivery, seems to of somewhat gone back to basics with the launch of their new Great King Street brand and its inaugural Artist’s Blend release.

Launched with the aim of rejuvenating and reviving people’s perceptions of blended whisky and highlighting the passion fuelled art that goes into producing it, Compass Box have yet again managed to come up trumps thanks to the dramming midas touch of John Glaser.

Being someone who is equally passionate about single malts and blends, wishing that more people were from the same school of dramming thought, I can’t stress enough how bountiful, balanced and versatile their latest drop of blendage really is.

The time really has come to pack up and bury those blended misconceptions, and for us all to then clamber on top of every rooftop in the land and shout loudly and proudly "Let's hear it for the blends!".

The nose kicks off with a slow motion velvety glove punch of tropical paradise, with an assortment of bananas in various stages of ripeness, freshly chopped slices of pineapple and a small glass of freshly squeezed white grapefruit juice.

Just when you think you’ve had your fresh fruity fill for the day, whiffettes of Bartlett pears and granny smith apples briefly take centre stage, along with a generous yet non overpowering dollop of spiced quince jam.

A mug of hot chocolate made with full fat milk and topped with a handful of pink marshmallows makes for the next set of sensations, followed by a thin wedge of lemon custard tart and a plate of warm, crumbly, butter heavy shortbread rounds.

The scooped out innards of a vanilla pod and a dusting of Chinese five spice help to provide a wealth of nasal body and balance, and are complimented even further by the arrival of balanced bouts of oak, freshly cut verbena leaves, toasted almonds and even the subtle hint of something Alpine fresh-esque.

The palate kicks off with honey textured waves of baked pears, chopped Sicilian lemons, synthetic banana flavouring and a hint of green tea. Followed by a duo of deserts in the form of moreishly delicious pineapple upside down cake and a creamy and crumbly egg custard tart.

A feisty reappearance of those oak, Chinese five spice and vanilla notes then make for the next set of palatable sensations, followed by more of those toasted almonds, a teaspoon of ground ginger and the ballsy yet balanced inhalation of warm clove oil.

Despite not being particularly long or lingering, the finish is fairly impressive. All the elements that delighted on the palate intensify and become even more concentrated, delivering an added lip licking sensation of warm spiced liquid candy with an eventual closing menthol edge. If only it lingered on a little longer!