Compass Box’s No Name — which we’ve encountered only at tasting events like WhiskyFest — was envisioned as a one-off in 2017, built on a base of Ardbeg but showcasing the lighter side of peat. The original spawned a sequel, and now this third edition has arrived — the final in a series that was never supposed to happen in the first place.
“No Name was not intended to become a series, but we have thoroughly enjoyed showcasing different heavily-peated malt whiskies within a consistent recipe structure,” says John Glaser, Compass Box founder and whiskymaker. “The interplay of smokiness between all three blends is completely different, showing that peat is far from one-dimensional. No Name, No. 3 showcases a rich intensity that makes it vibrant and expansive, with a wild yet graceful peatiness. No Name, No. 3 completes a compelling trilogy, and we are excited for fans of this style to try it.”
No Name, No. 3 (with a comma) — we missed No. 2 — starts with a base of Laphroaig, aged in recharred hogsheads, with the addition of malt from Bowmore plus some of the Compass Box Highland Malt Blend to round it out.
The result is curious and easy to like, though I’m not as enchanted with the finished product as many whisky mavens seem to be. Like the original No Name, it at first seems impossible that the base spirit here comes from one of the titans of Islay. The nose is lightly ashy but also quite fruity, a gently briny maritime note paired with notes of baked apples, gooseberry, toasted oak, and some torched rubber. The palate again feels impossibly sweet considering the sourdce — more applesauce than fresh apple, although here dragged a bit through the underbrush, giving it a brambly, woodsy character that develops in time. The finish is definitely smoky, with a touch of tire fire or wet asphalt in the mix, but it’s less overtly peaty and drawn more from a place that evokes a rather industrial core.
I love the idea, but the execution just isn’t as on point as in the original No Name.
97.8 proof. 10,794 bottles produced.