Compass Box – This is not a luxury Whisky


After yesterday’s Epic Flaming heart 15th anniversary edition, we come to review the second new creation of John Glaser (and Compass Box), which goes by the name of ‘This is not a luxury Whisky’.  This is really a witty word game based on the same notion as René Magritte’s  famous work “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (originally named : la trahison des images). Compass box have created quite the luxury whisky here, priced at £150 , this is quite the luxury whisky. What Compass box was trying to do (according to them, and I am quoting) was “similar to the role Magritte’s painting played in the art world, this release is about getting people to consider for themselves what a ‘luxury’ whisky is.” they also choose to say that “On another level, a level we consider much more important, this limited release is about the liquid. This is about the whisky in the bottle, which we have painstakingly sourced and blended, and the engagement and enjoyment and pleasure this whisky will bring when shared with others.”.

We are quite philosophical today, aren’t we? . Oh anyways, I guess you’re asking yourself How good is this whisky to justify a price tag of about 200 EUR. so let’s get on with it and see for ourselves, but before that some information about what’s inside, as this is the most important info here (yes yes, it looks awesome too, I know).


Jon has vatted a 19 year old Glen Ord, 40 year old Girvan and Strathclyde grains, and some  30 year old Caol Ila in order to add some smoke.. . It is bottled at 53,1%, and there are only 4,992 bottles available.

Compass Box – This is Not a Luxury Whisky , 53.1% , £149.70 compass-box-this-is-not-a-luxury-whisky

Nose : I must say this feels cozy. With a deep sweet backbone with old sherry cask notes of toffee,  sticky rice and a floral note with citrus peel and lemon drops as well as wood spices (Clove, cardamom,  and a pinch of white pepper. Not a lot of sherry but it’s in the backdrop.

Palate : Oh yeah. This is where the smoke kicks in with the old coal ila. A bit of pepper up front which then gives way to earthy peat,  smoky dried figs and sweet malty and toffee feel to it with chocolate ganache,  vanilla pods and baking spices. Lovely mix of flavors and sensations.

Finish : Earthy. Smoky. Dry with a lingering sweet dried fruit and hickory sauce.


I am a sucker for old grains, and those two single grains are really integrating nicely with the Glen Ord, which consists of most of the vatting. Adding the older Coal Ila (same cask as in the Flaming heart?) is a cool idea, and the smoke and old peat adds complexity and smoky notes. At first one would think the vatting a bit weird, but corny as the saying is, the whole is really larger than the sum of its parts. I love this one as well, and It is hard to decide which is better, this or the Flaming Heart, as both are excellent. If I had a limited budget I’d go for the flaming heart, if I could afford both, I’d buy them both. Lovely stuff. really so.

Score: 92/100

2 thoughts on “Compass Box – This is not a luxury Whisky

  1. Sorry, not impressed, yes there was initial sweetness which was very short lived, after that we thought the whisky was quite bitter and rough. Quite a burning sensation on the back of ones throat. We couldn’t notice any peat. Hopefully the “flaming heart” will rate better.

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