Compass Box Stranger & Stranger

A new Compass Box whisky review today (happy me), and quite an unusual one, if I might say…

Some may call it sacrilege, but Compass Box thought the addition of one year old ‘sacrificial spirit’ would be the perfect component to use in their limited edition blend to celebrate ten years of collaboration with their good friends at the package design company Stranger & Stranger, hence the name.

‘Sacrificial spirit? what?!’, you ask… well, let me explain. John Glaser & Co., have made a brilliant blended whisky and put a finger in the SWA’s eye, they have included a one year old grain spirit, which can not be whisky, hence making the entire concoction NOT A WHISKY, by definition. Of course it’s whisky, and of course it’s brilliant as always, but this is another of their “in your face” sort of action, protesting against the SWA’s regulations which do not allow for 100% transparency. Remember the 3 year old de-luxe? which included some old whiskies, and some 3 year old just for the kick of it? well, this goes one step further. Brilliant, and a very coragoes move on behalf of CB, which know this whisky will sell well no matter how they call it (actually they refer to it as “Scotch malt whisky blended with wheat & barley spirit“).

so what’s inside? 80% Malt Whisky from Glenlossie distillery in a re-char Hogshead, 14% Malt whisky from Glen Elgin in re-char Barrels, 5% Malt Whisky from Linkwood in a Sherry Butt, and 1% of the “Sacrificial spirit” from Girvan grain distillery from a re-fill Hogshead : {The spirit spent one year in their experimental American oak barrels to season the wood. After the spirit fulfilled its original purpose of seasoning these experimental barrels, they filled it into a refill hogshead for safe keeping while they created this new blend }

  • 80% Malt Whisky from Glenlossie distillery in a re-char Hogshead
  • 14% Malt whisky from Glen Elgin in re-char Barrels
  • 5% Malt Whisky from Linkwood in a Sherry Butt,
  • And.. 1% of the “Sacrificial spirit” * from Girvan grain distillery from a re-fill Hogshead

*{The spirit spent one year in their experimental American oak barrels to season the wood. After the spirit fulfilled its original purpose of seasoning these experimental barrels, they filled it into a refill hogshead for safe keeping while they created this new blend}

Compass Box Stranger & Stranger, 46% abv , £150 / $199

Nose: lovely and fresh with lots of apple, pear and a sweet sugary note as well,apple pie, and sweet dough, a hint of candied ginger, bordering on unripe  tropical fruit, candied pineapple, and wood. Wow. Nice start! So light, green and fresh, with the dominating Glenlossie apples. Bingo!


Palate: richer thicker and sweeter, with butter stewed apples, honey, vanilla and spice toasted oak and bitter chocolate,filled with sweet caramel. More fruit comes on the 2nd wave of sensations, mostly plum and some apricot, and burnt sugar,pepper then the pineapple kicks in. 

Finish : spicy, with pepper, ginger powder sweet caramel, and toasted oak. 

Conclusion: No surprise here, as with many CB Whiskies, with a gimmick or without the gimmick, this is a beautiful dram: from the rich apples on the nose, through a more robust and sweet/fruity palate, and a delightful finish. This is a blending tour de force on behalf of Glaser & Co. Splendid stuff. Not cheap though at $200. Call it what you like, this is damn good dram.

Score: 91/100

Available online at MoM £148.95

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