What a nifty little whisky this is. Compass Box’s “Hedonism” is a blend composed entirely of grain whiskies. Light, snappy and full of character. A relatively easy drinker that will have you sitting up and taking notice. There is something very different here.
Think Scotch and the immediate connotation (in my wee mind anyway) is that deep malty, heavy and earthy profile we know and love. Tackling grain whisky requires a suspension of those preconceptions. You’re coming into something here that will be closer to a North American style whisky. Don’t let this veering from the norm deter you. There are some really good grain whiskies out there, even if they are quite few and far between.
Compass Box produces in rather small batches and works with what is available at the time. They are also not averse to tweaking the recipe as whim and refinement dictate (case in point…latter editions of The Peat Monster). I say this as a caution. What I am tasting in the bottle shown above may be different from what you try (fortunately the packaging has also periodically changed, further helping differentiation) in your bottle.
First notes on the nose are big raw coconut and lovely fresh woods. Hella cool and quite unique and defining. Extreme sweet notes are tempered with some nut and vanilla. Cream of Wheat, fresh scone and summer citrus. Very pleasant on the nose. Homey, but elegant and charming. Very, very well-composed.
Clean cereal notes come across on delivery. Some vanilla and sugary white chocolate (Easter candy-ish?). Citrus again and a nice austere wood linger…with echoes of coconut.
“Hedonism” isn’t the best whisky I’ve ever tasted, but there really is something that makes me want to go back to it. Very rewarding in its individuality, and masterfully built. I’ll remember this one, and will be speaking of it to others.
As a final note I’d like to add that, although perhaps not the biggest fan of all Compass Box products I’ve sampled, I must admit I have a lot of respect for the path John Glaser’s little enterprise has taken in producing their whiskies. Compass Box has the stones to not only fight the good fight, but to win. Love it.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt