- DISTILLER: Compass Box Whisky
- MASH BILL: A blend of Scotch Malted Whisky with Wheat & Barley Spirit
- AGE: NAS - No Age Statement
- YEAR: 2019
- PROOF: 46% ABV (92-Proof)
- MSRP: $200.00
- BUY ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com
NOSE: Heavy Apple | Vanilla | Apple Cider
TASTE: Apple | Clove | Vanilla | White Pepper
FINISH: Long and spicy with white pepper
SHARE WITH: Scotch fans who aren’t purists and willing to try something a little different.
WORTH THE PRICE: While decent, it is questionable charging $200 for a Scottish whisky that can’t even legally be called Scotch.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: I rated this as a Bar mostly due to the price.
OVERALL: I’ve enjoyed many releases of Compass Box and, pardon the pun, they’re very much an outside the box distillery and they are about as transparent as a distillery will get. Due to their creativity, some of their releases can be pricey. But the big question here is Is Stranger & Stranger worth $200.00? I don’t think so.
Stranger & Stranger is a blend of 80% Glenlossie malt aged in re-charred hogsheads, 14% Glen Elgin malt aged in re-charred barrels, 5% Linkwood malt aged in sherry butts, and 1% Girvan grain spirit aged for a year in refilled hogsheads. The latter spirit was first aged for a year in American oak then transferred to the used hogshead. Compass Box calls this a sacrificial spirit because it is what prevents this whisky being classified as Scotch as it is less than three years old.
Stranger & Stranger is non-chill filtered, has no artificial coloring (caramel coloring is allowed with Scotch whisky), and there were 4802 bottles produced.
I tried Stranger & Stranger both neat and with a few drops of water. The only thing that water added was to bring out a saline quality on the nose and added length to the peppery finish.
I did enjoy Stranger & Stranger, but I didn’t enjoy it for $200.00. I love to #DrinkCurious and do not classify myself as a Scotch purist. I’m interested in the end result. Even if there was no sacrificial spirit blended in, I’d still not rate this as a $200.00 worthy purchase. It is nice, it is interesting in a good way, but it is also overpriced.
Some may call it sacrilege, but we thought the addition of one year old ‘sacrificial spirit’ would be the perfect component to use in our limited edition blend to celebrate ten years of collaboration with our good friends at the package design company Stranger & Stranger.
In the 30 plus design projects we’ve worked on together, we typically provide a core idea and direction, but for this special project, we let Stranger & Stranger design what they liked. All I told them was we were working on a recipe incorporating some amazing one year old grain spirit we had used to season some experimental American oak barrels.
We had been calling this one year old ‘sacrificial spirit’ because we didn’t know what it would be like after a year in these crazy new barrels. Turned out, it was amazing, filled with intense wood spice and exotic shades of vanilla character. Typical of the way we ordinarily work with Stranger & Stranger, a simple idea captured their imagination and inspired their work. Here, it was ‘sacrificial spirit’ which they used as a springboard for the intricate and fascinating design of this limited edition.
You’ll find aromas and flavours in this Stranger spirit that remind you of custard and dark sugars, fresh apple and an appealing herbal character. It has a sweetness on the palate that will call you back to the glass, owing to just one percent of the recipe using our delicious sacrificial spirit.
We hope you’ll share and enjoy with friends and family this celebration of the ten year collaboration between Compass Box and Stranger & Stranger.