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 compelled to make things better - to ask questions, to challenge, to experiment. A Whiskymaker is different from a distiller, and more than a blender.

When it comes to whisky and the joy it brings, 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. There is so much there to discover.

Processes, Relationships, Details

As Whiskymakers, we work with a world of equally passionate partners to explore the interaction between maturing Scotch whisky and oak over 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. We believe that every detail at every stage of the process has the potential to add something magical 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 tasted 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

Distilled in a pot still from malted barley
 

2

Grain Whisky

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

Casks of single malt and single grain whiskies blended together.

2

Blended Malt

Casks of single malt whiskies from more than one distillery blended together.

3

Blended Grain

Casks of single grain whiskies from more than one distillery blended together.

4

Single Malt

Malt whisky from a single distillery. Usually, casks of malt whisky from the single distillery blended together. Less commonly, single cask bottlings.

5

Single Grain

Grain whisky from a single distillery. Usually, casks of grain whisky from the single distillery blended together. Less commonly, single cask bottlings.

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 this collection of videos, our Founder and Whiskymaker John Glaser explores surprising truths and misconceptions about Scotch whisky, as well as introducing some of our company’s core beliefs.

Is an old whisky always better than a young one? What role does toast level and charring play in the creation of flavour? How should you drink Scotch whisky? Press play to find out all this 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 was working for a large UK distiller when he realised that there was so much that hadn’t yet been explored in the world of Scotch whisky. An American living in London, he decided to do something refreshingly different and bring the joys of Scotch whisky to more people in exciting new ways.

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 has grown over the years and 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 incredible capacity to delight both newcomers and discerning devotees. Which is what we aim to do with every bottle we create .

So join us on this exciting journey of deliciousness, and let’s share and enjoy our discoveries together. Be sure to sign up to our newsletter too and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest news of our adventures in .

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.