The Circus is coming to town… [Compass Box The Circus]

‘If you’re looking for rainbows, look up to the sky.’
– Charlie Chaplin, The Circus, 1928

There are many new whisky releases in the last year or so, but more and more I find myself disappointed with the new whisky distilleries and IB’s are coming up with : often young, immature, or just plain random uninteresting stuff , sometimes at a high price. It is really only once in a while a whisky expressions , which is really good gets released, this is sad, but it’s quite true (been discussing that with a fellow whisky friend and blogger, and it seems quite a lot of people share my sentiments). however, you can count on Compass box to release good stuff, when they decide they are releasing something. It’s true, they are a small IB and they release stuff on a small-scale most times, but when they do, it does not look like they just had a cask sitting in the warehouse, and they “had” to bottle it, under some fancy shmancy gaelic name to make it sell or so. This is exactly what happened with one of their latest releases – the Circus. The circus is a blended whisky, but it’s not your average blend, Compass box has a long history of bottling some awesome older blends, such as ‘The General’ or superb Blended malts such as the ‘Flaming Heart 15th edition’  , and this one is in the same league so to speak, meaning – a blend whose ingredients are top-notch, and not just blending fodder with some malt inside. So, what’s inside you ask? well, it’s complicated… Basically it is made of some parcels of blended malt whisky that were married and then ‘forgotten’ in the marrying cask for a long time (no idea where, what was inside), then they added some old grain (this is a blended whisky, after all!), and a bit of younger  Benrinnes . to be more exact this contains 57%  of blended malt, marrying for a very long time in a refill sherry butt, 26 %blended grain whisky, also married in a refill sherry butt , 15% of Benrinnes single malt from a first-fill sherry butt, and a bit of blended malt from a refill sherry butt.


Take all this, and blend it together, and at 49% we get a very good whisky. Let’s dive :

Compass Box ‘The circus’ , NAS , 49% , £190 compass-box-the-circus-whisky

Nose : marzipan and sweet caramelized apples up front with old and elegant sherry, a bit dusty at times (a good thing yes?), orange peel candy, marmalade and a whiff of cigar humidor, and old school candy.

Palate : sweet sherry with chocolate and quite a bit of ripe stewed fruit. Some fig and ripe prunes too, almost jam-like, furthermore I’m getting nice toffee notes, as well as, gentle coffee, with hints of mocha, nuts and almonds, and maybe a hint of marzipan.

Finish: Long, rewarding with the dark stewed fruit, Xmas pudding, and tobacco.

This is a delicious whisky, yet it seems something is lacking and it does not reach the heights I was hoping it would. I guess I had very high expectations after tasting The General, and sadly it is just a little short of that.  I would love a bottle of this anyways, pricing is however not cheap, and due to the fact that it’s very limited (under 3,000 bottles), it’s probably sold out. We need more whisky like this around. surely.

Score: 89/100

Leave a Reply