Whisky Focus - Compass Box Magic Cask Review

Compass Box Magic Cask Review

24th March 2021
After a bit of a delay the new Compass Box Magic Cask is now available.

Compass Box Magic CaskMagic Cask is a new limited edition Scotch blended malt whisky from the creative folks at Compass Box, some of you based in Canada who have been enjoying Compass Box whiskies since the company's early days may be familiar with the name of the new expression as this is not the first Magic Cask whisky to be conjured up by the creative whisky maker, back in 2006 a Compass Box Magic Cask expression was bottled exclusively for the LCBO in Ontario, Canada.

The Compass Box Magic Cask expression bottled back in 2006 for the LCBO was a blend of two Scotch single malts, a Linkwood 17 year old which was finished for the last year of its maturation in a Madeira barrique which at that time was a first for Compass Box as they had never used former wine casks in their whisky making before, this was blended with a Clynelish 14 year old and the resultant whisky was named 'Magic Cask'.

Fast forward around 14 years and Compass Box Lead Whiskymaker James Saxon has created a blended malt using two Speyside whisky region single malts which Compass Box has deemed worthy to carry the name Magic Cask.

The new Compass Box Magic Cask has been created using just two Scotch single malt whiskies, 92% of which was distilled at the now lost Imperial distillery which closed back in 1998 and was demolished in 2013, this was matured for around 23 years in a First Fill Bourbon barrel.

The other 8% of contributing whisky in the new Magic Cask blended malt was distilled at a undisclosed distillery near the town of Aberlour. The 4 to 5 year old undisclosed single malt in the blend came from cask no. 2 in a batch of 10 sherry butts which Compass Box had filled in 2016 as part of a maturation trial. For the trial they re-racked an undisclosed one year old malt spirit into First Fill Oloroso seasoned sherry butts from the renowned bodega, Jose Miguel Martin. By 2019, one particular cask, cask no. 2 proved so compelling that James Saxon began to experiment with it and after introducing it to a much older malt whisky from the now lost Imperial Distillery, he says that he witnessed a moment of magic and hey presto the new Magic Cask was bottled.

Compass Box Magic Cask has been bottled at 46% ABV, it is naturally coloured and non chill-filtered. Although it was bottled in March 2020 it is only arriving on the shelves of the whisky shops now, its release like many things has been delayed somewhat by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is a limited edition release of 5,538 bottles with a RRP of 145 for the 70cl bottle, you will find it available while stocks last from specialist online whisky retailers  such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt

Compass Box Magic Cask Review

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: A little fruity and floral, enticing sweet citrus notes of orange is joined by some fresh apple and sultana. A little sweet vanilla toffee and a hint of honey and dark chocolate lurking in the background.

Taste: Demerara sugar sweetened spiced vanilla toffee leads all infused with a delicious gentle citrus orange, followed by a stronger wave of oak spice, a little raisin and sultana, some late dark chocolate and a touch of coconut ice.

Finish: A deliciously longish finish, the spice quickly mellows, vanilla, orange and sultana fade first to leave a touch of coffee and some gentle sweet, mature oak and mildly drying spice.

Comment: A delicious, spicy, lightly sherried, mature Speyside whisky. The creative folks at Compass Box have put together some deliciously outstanding whiskies over the years and this is another one. Whisky is made for pleasure and this was a pleasure. I am sure the knowledgeable whisky drinkers amongst you could hazard a guess to what the undisclosed sherried whisky is in the blend but we will  never really know for sure, perhaps it is Benrinnes or maybe Aberlour, one thing I can say for sure is that it is a cracking balance of young and mainly old single malt and it is outstanding.

SMW Score 92/100

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