|An homage to G-LO. Can you identify the hero?|
Spice Tree: 46% abv; $65 at Shopper's Vineyard. 50ml sample proved by Robin Robinson at the chocolate pairing tasting event preview.
Color: light amber with some greenish tints. A nice rich color.
|Lovely light amber with greenish tints.|
Opening is sweet and bright with plenty of sugar and also a pronounced herbal note - like a cross between parsley and black mint. Then it is suddenly and dramatically spicy. The first hint is a complex oaky balsa wood perfume flavor that rapidly broadens into a spike of spice heat that is prickly and numbing on the tongue in the same manner as clove or cinnamon (without actually tasting a great deal like either). At the same time vanilla perfume and a rich sherry note provide a sweet and floral counterpoint. The transition to the finish is marked by a melding of the sweet and heat which combine to form a flavor reminiscent of ginger. Then the oak takes over and the lingering finish is a drying and elegant wood fest. This is the longest finish in the regular release Compass Box line and it's a pleasure.
The heat doesn't build up on repeated sipping, like it would with actual clove, cinnamon, or ginger. Instead it forms a continuous backdrop to the complex array of flavors balancing sweet and dry, sugars, herbs, spice, and wood essences in a shifting interplay from nose to opening to midpalate bloom to finish to afterglow over and over. It's a highly engaging and thought provoking and richly flavored dram. The heat might be a bit much for some (my wife, for example, didn't like it at all - but she's not much for whisky generally). But those in for a bit of gustatory challenge will be rewarded by John Glaser's excursion in a totally new flavor direction. This amping up of the wood note is an inspired and entertaining new direction for Scotch - another face card in the loaded Full House hand that is Scotch's extraordinary variability. Not only is this the archetype of a new flavor profile - it's also a delicious and extremely drinkable success. Loved it!