Thanks to /u/WDMC-905 for bringing this to the Toronto Whisky Society general meeting for the year.
For those of us who aren’t musical nerds (which I say lovingly), an Extravaganza is a piece of music or literary work characterized by freedom of style and structure.
You see originally Spice Tree was an illegal whisky. By using a non traditional cask, the SWA felt that they were cheating and thus the whisky was banned. On the tenth anniversary of this banning Compass Box released Compass Box Spice Tree Extravaganza. To celebrate the fact that they broke the rules and were caught using a different cask head on a cask, the equivalent in the scotch scene to dancing on kittens, we have this version.
It’s like the standard Spice Tree but with more sherry casks included.
Well I’m always up for blended malts with a twist. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Recipe Components: 32.6% Glen Ord First Fill Sherry Butt, 17.2% Benrinnes First Fill Sherry Butt, 2.6% Allt-a-bhainne First Fill American Standard Barrel, 27.7% ‘Highland Malt’ Blend Light/Medium Toast Hybrid Cask, 4.3% ‘Highland Malt’ Blend Refill Hybrid Cask, 15.6% ‘Highland Malt’ Blend Heavy Toast Hybrid Cask
‘Highland Malt’ blend is 60% Clynelish, 20% Dailuaine, and 20% Teaninich
Bottled: August 2016
Colour: 5Y 9/8
Nose: Cereal, perfume, raisin, dandelion, lemon
Initial cereal and perfume. Blind I’d start thinking this was some portion of a Lowland perhaps. And based on the above, I’d be super wrong, so let’s be glad that the mystery samples haven’t started yet.
Time brings out more of the sherry, but true to the description it does keep the balance and let that take over. Mostly floral elements, some bitter bits coming out with time.
Taste: Raisin, wax, lemon, papaya, cloves
Similar to the nose, this has that wisp of sherry. That soupçon, if you will. Oh and there’s Clynelish in here. I can tell because the bottle says Compass Box. I joke, I joke, it’s because of the wax that’s prominent here.
Some spice, some lemon and tropical fruit. It plays with sherry.
Finish: Fig, smoke, brine, anise, cereal
FInish has some more richness to it, with some smoke and brine to even it all out. I like the finish here because it goes on that whole smoke and sherry mix that I hunt out all the time, yet keeps with the dram with that underlayer of cereal.
Conclusion: A nice sipping dram. I’ve accused Compass Box of having moments where they release something to prove a point rather than releasing something because it’s a good whisky. Or like when I start rambling about my life rather than telling you about a whisky, for instance.
This whisky didn’t fall into that. The original Spice Tree was quite impressive, and lots of whisky fans have debated if the new version lives up to the illegal bad bad cops coming version. This version goes in a different direction again, and it’s actually not just a sherry filled bomb. It’s balanced.
That all said, a bit higher Abv. would have gone a long way here. It stayed light and fruity, never really developing a lot of complexity. It’s certainly better than most blends on the market though, and certainly is nice to sip on. It has unique aspects, good balance, and isn’t too crazy to get.
Scotch review #1044, Blend review #89, Whisky Network review #1630