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. A Whiskymaker is different from a distiller, more than a blender.

When it comes to whisky and its enjoyment, we keep our minds open to new possibilities. We are excited by new production processes, new combinations of flavours, new ways of sharing and enjoying great whisky.

Processes, Relationships, Details

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

    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

    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

    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

    Blend for balance, richness and complexity.

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

  • stage

    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

    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

    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:


Malt Whisky

is distilled in a Pot Still from malted barley


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:


Blended Scotch Whisky

Single Malt and Single Grain whiskies blended together


Blended Malt

A blend of Single Malt whiskies from more than one distillery


Blended Grain

A blend of Single Grain whiskies from more than one distillery


Single Malt

Malt whisky from a single distillery


Single Grain

Grain whisky from a single distillery

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

We believe that by bringing together Single Malt and Single Grain whiskies of the highest quality it is possible to create textures, flavours and pleasures that no solitary whisky can attain.


Whisky School

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

In the following videos, 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

cask selection

heat treatment
and flavour




there are
no rules

the paradigm
of the maker


Our Story

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

So, he started Compass Box, an inventive 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 deliciousness.

Originally working from his kitchen, Compass Box now has two dedicated Blending Rooms in London, we have our own stocks of maturing whiskies in Scotland and a team of over 15 hugely enthusiastic whisky-lovers.

We believe Scotch whisky is one of the world’s great drinks. With more spectrum of flavour and style than any other spirit, it has such capacity to delight both newcomers and discerning devotees. So that’s what we aim to do with every bottle we create.

Join us on this exciting journey of deliciousness, and let’s share and enjoy our discoveries together. Be sure to also sign up to our newsletter to be kept up to date with the latest news.


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.