Color: Cloudy Pale Gold
Nose: Peat. Immediately, there is a combination of spicy notes, black licorice, and some tar. Very quickly, though, it begins to take on a more coastal character: salty air, seawater. Knowing this is Ardbeg blended with a smaller quantity of Caol Ila, I can't say I'm terribly surprised with this. It's a very nice profile for a big Islay bruiser. Knowing Compass Box, though, it'll be tempered with some class...
Taste: And it is. This is a lovely, restrained-but-still-punchy palate. The mouthfeel is terrific: coating and relaxing. The coastal character is mostly gone. The peat remains, but it's not a smack to the face when you taste it; rather, it's a smoky backbone that provides a great oomph to the otherwise elegant malt. This is terrific, bourbon-matured Islay with a touch of Clynelish that I actually can sense doing some work along with the Caol Ila. Don't get much difference with water. The strength is already pretty much dead-on for drinking.
Finish: Long, really long. A warm spice residue along with a bit of licorice.
Comments: Not a ton to add, frankly. This was all expected. Compass Box bottling Ardbeg cum Caol Ila/Clynelish and putting it in the usual striking packaging? Yeah, about right.