Campaign For Transparency

What is a Scotch Whiskymaker?

‘Whiskymaker’ is a word we invented – you won’t find it in any dictionary.
To us, a Whiskymaker is someone who feels a need and an obligation to make things better - to ask questions, to challenge, to experiment. When it comes to whisky and its enjoyment, we keep our minds open to new possibilities - new production processes, new combinations of flavours, new ways of sharing and enjoying great whisky.

Every Stage Counts

As Whiskymakers, we work with a range of partners to explore the interaction between maturing Scotch whisky and oak over the course of time. From sourcing the best cooperage oak in the world from the Vosges forest of France and the woods of Missouri, to individually sampling almost every cask we use in each of our blends, we are fanatical about quality and believe that every stage of the process has the potential to add to the finished blend. 

When creating our whiskies we:

 
  • stage
    1

    Source the highest quality oak direct from the world’s leading cooperages.

    We work with a range of partners in the US, France and Spain to find the best oak for every whisky we produce.

  • stage
    2

    Create custom casks that impart
    unique flavours.

    By experimenting with bespoke toast levels and innovative cask design we have been able to develop flavour profiles never before seen in the world of Scotch.

  • stage
    3

    Select the best whiskies from the
    best distilleries.

    We seek and sample the best individual casks – almost every single cask we use has been hand-selected for quality.

  • stage
    4

    Blend for balance, richness and complexity.

    We develop our blends through numerous iterations of recipes, typically over several months.

  • stage
    5

    Allow every component to shine.

    Unlike most mass produced whisky, we typically use only a few components in each whisky, so every parcel of whisky included comes through in the final character.

  • stage
    6

    Marry the blended whisky in cask after blending for additional character and flavour integration.

    After blending, we return the blends to casks to marry for anywhere between six months and three years.

  • stage
    7

    Bottle, ship, share and enjoy.

    We bottle at natural colour to maintain the flavour integrity of the whiskies, and without chill filtering to maintain mouthfeel.

What is Scotch Whisky?

At its simplest, Scotch whisky, often simply called Scotch, is whisky made in Scotland in a manner specified by law. The laws governing its production and maturation make it different from every other whisky produced elsewhere in the world.

 

there are two types of whisky distilled in Scotland...

1

Malt Whisky

is distilled in a Pot Still from malted barley
 

2

Grain Whisky

is distilled in a Continuous Still typically from
wheat or corn, with a small amount of barley

from these two types come five classifications:

1

Blended Scotch Whisky

Single Malt and Single Grain whiskies
blended together

2

Blended Malt

A blend of Single Malt whiskies from more
than one distillery

3

Blended Grain

A blend of Single Grain whiskies from more
than one distillery

4

Single Malt

Malt whisky from a single distillery

5

Single Grain

Grain whisky from a single distillery

At Compass Box, we make all three types of blends.

 

Whisky School

In this series, our Whiskymaker John Glaser explores with you surprising truths and misconceptions about Scotch whisky, as well as some of our company’s core beliefs.
Is an old whisky always better than a young whisky? What role does toast level and charring play in the creation of flavour? How should you drink Scotch whisky? Discover these things and more…

 

the art of blending
scotch whisky

blended malts vs.
single malts

age is not
everything

cask selection
 

heat treatment
and flavour

whiskymaking
 

spirit
caramel

recipe
development

there are
no rules

the paradigm
of the maker

cask
sampling

Our Story

Back in 2000, John Glaser believed there were too many companies making and selling Scotch whisky the same way. An American, transplanted to the UK and working for a large distiller, he wanted to do things differently to bring the joys of Scotch whisky to more people.

So, he set up a different kind of Scotch whisky company, based on the long-lost model of the Scotch whisky blending house, but with a forward-looking approach and an unrelenting desire to create quality. He originally launched the business from his kitchen, but today, over a decade later, Compass Box has an office and Blending Room in London, its own stocks of maturing whiskies in Scotland, and just over a dozen employees.

In an industry that has steadfastly remained committed to ‘the way we’ve always done things’, at Compass Box we focus relentlessly on creativity, process innovations, and exploring the many ways we all can enjoy the pleasures of Scotch whisky.

With more spectrum of flavour and style than any other spirit, we believe Scotch whisky is one of the world’s great drinks. We are here to help ensure it stays that way for generations to come.

Join us!

 

Our Core Whisky Beliefs

  • Blending is a platform for creativity.

    A well-made Scotch whisky blend, made from excellent component whiskies, is something no single distillery can create, and can rival the complexity of the very best of single malt whiskies.

  • Good oak rules.

    Up to 70% of the flavour in mature Scotch whisky comes from the interaction of the spirit with the cask it is aged in. You can only create a great whisky when you use great wood.

  • Good whiskies don’t need age statements

    We believe whisky quality is determined by flavour and character, not by an age statement. There is no short-hand for quality in Scotch. Age statements can be a red herring.

  • Whisky should be bottled without chill-filtering and at its natural colour.

    Unlike most Scotch whisky producers, we see no reason to artificially colour our whiskies, or to strip away mouthfeel by chill-filtration. These are cosmetic steps we never take.

  • Drink good whisky any way you like.
    No rules.

    Good whisky can be enjoyed neat, with water, ice, mixers, in a culinary cocktail or paired with foods. There are no rules. Simply share and enjoy.

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