After some time off due to holidays, it’s time to get back to reviewing some whiskies etc. But today, A new Compass Box expression, that is not (exactly) whisky, but a blend of Whisky and Calvados, yes, that’s right.
Now, blending whisky and Calvados may sound weird at first, but when you think about it, whisky and Calvados share a common distillation method as well as aging methods :
Orchard fruit notes are common to both Calvados and Scotch malt whisky. Many Calvados producers double-distil in pot stills, just like their Scottish cousins. Maturation in French oak is another aspect of their shared DNA.
Compass Box have been playing with blending the two distillates as they indicate on the site:
We have been blending Calvados with Scotch whisky at home and in our blending room for years. The flavour combination is classic: apples and spice riffing off dried fruits and vanilla. When we were able to source Calvados of the right quality, and in enough quantities, we decided to share our private experiments with the world.
When you come to think of it, why not? when you sip it, it even makes more sense. As always CB present a very detailed and transparent (as much as they can legally do) information about what goes into the blend, and this little infographic really speaks for itself.
Essentially we’re speaking 37.5% Calvados from Cristian Drouin and the rest is whisky : some Highland Malt blend from 3 different cask types, some Blended scotch and 20% of Craigellachie malt. have a look:
Compass Box Affinity , 46% abv , £83
Nose: the Calvados plays first violin here, with sweet ripe apples, with the malt adding a nice vanilla, and butter touch. Granny Smith peel, lemon, and wood. Liquid apple crumble if you will..
Palate: not as sweet as the nose suggest, and more whisky like, with spices and apple peel, malty and flashes of apple in the midst of grain land. Very nice balance , dry towards the end and semi sweet.
Finish : red apple peel, wood, spice.
I was skeptical at first, but after having sniffed and sipped it a few times, I really think this is a very nice spirit. The apples and malty backbone work well together, the wood from both spirits adding a nice balance. Lovely stuff. Not sure how to score it, as it’s not Whisky, and not Calvados. But, highly enjoyable stuff.
Those guys from Compass box are indeed full of surprises. Good work!
Available from Master of Malt , £83