This fall, Compass Box whisky-lovers rejoiced in the news that the distillery had added a new addition to its permanent line-up for the first time in more than five years. With their yearly limited edition releases seeming to outnumber their core range, it was probably about time. The Story of the Spaniard (yes, that’s it’s name) is a blend of malt whiskies, nearly 50% of which were aged in ex-sherry casks while the rest was aged in a mix of French oak and ex-Spanish red wine. It was inspired by a bespoke whisky Compass Box created for The Spaniard bar in New York’s West Village, and the name is also a nod to John Glaser’s introduction to sherry by an old man in the South of Spain. Without further ado, here’s thoughts on The Story of the Spaniard.
As anticipated, The Spaniard has a sherry-heavy nose, full of almond, clove, and dried citrus, but there’s also a significant amount of alcohol present, especially given the modest proof, which makes the aroma intermittently something closer to floor polish. The palate is light and sweet, not unlike many other blends courtesy of Mr. Glaser. But it’s not without its depth in notes of ripe pear, mulled wine, almond, and raisin. There’s a nice heat that carries well into the finish, which sees more spice — mostly cinnamon and clove — along with a healthy dose of muddled mint. Even Compass Box encourages using this one for cocktails, and I can see the sherry notes standing up well in a mixed drink. As a sipper, it’s not quite on par with others in the core range.