Solid. I like the fresh fruit, honey, malt, and gingerbread notes going on. It’s a bit on the soft-and-gentle side on the nose, but the earthy notes on the palate provide some much-needed complexity. I wish there was a bit more of that complexity on the palate, and a bit more length on the finish. I think bearing the ornate Compass Box label might have put a bit too much pressure on this whisky: it’s a nice laid-back experience, where I think some might have expected it to be a bit flashier.
Nose: Shockingly similar to my bottle of Balblair 2005. Bright fresh fruit: melon (both honeydew and cantaloupe), pear, lime zest, zingy ginger, green grapes, and yellow plums. It’s malty too, with some bread crust and barley grist. There’s a perfumey floral note and some coconut. Some more nutty earthy notes of dunnage and hay. Honey-drenched roast nuts, nougat, and a hint of smoked cheese.
Palate: Medium-thick texture. Green apple, pear, and malt on the arrival. The oak comes in on the development, along with honey and mild cinnamon and gingerbread. A big hit of old punky wood, nutty tobacco smoke, tart earth, coffee grounds, and salted pistachios. More hay and grass notes on the back end, with some citrus pith.
Finish: Medium-length. Earthy, much more like the palate than the nose. More grass, ginger, banana, honey-soaked bread, and some nutty cheese (mimolette?). A hint of tobacco smoke and dried oregano.