So, I will try to keep the preamble short for this one! As I mentioned in the previous post, when I went to the Compass Box tasting at Trinity Hall, my hope was that Marius would offer one of the more recent, limited edition releases, and he did, and then some! If you’re one of my three regular readers, you know that in my last post, I reviewed one of the limited releases, the Enlightenment, a big fruit bomb of a whisky. So my wish had been met, however, Marius didn’t stop there! Nope, he just kept surprising us! For the next whisky, Marius brought out another Limited Release, the Flaming Heart 15th Anniversary Edition!
Due to all sorts of reasons, I had not yet tasted the Flaming Heart, even though I have a couple of bottles (somewhere) amongst my stockpile. Despite not having tasted it before, I knew of this whisky, and really suspected that I would like it a lot! So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sample this recent release.
Flaming Heart 15th Anniversary Edition
Once more, as I seem to always do when discussing Compass Box, I want to share the information that they make available regarding their whiskies!
Here is their summary of the Flaming Heart, including a breakdown of the components (minus the age references) and the associated graphic pulled directly from their website:
“First released in 2006, Flaming Heart was the first whisky to combine the rich, complex spice of Scotch aged in new French oak with the evocative peat-fired smoke of Islay malt. It created a genre-defying style that was smouldering, spicy, complex – and so popular that we re-released it three more times in the years that followed. In this our fifteenth year, we felt compelled to revisit this unique style one more time. Our anniversary release is a huge, layered, long-lasting mouthful of a whisky to enjoy late into the night. Brooding, indulgent and older than ever before, this is a whisky born of oak, smoke and fire – with a big heart all of its own.”
A unique interplay between spice, sweet and smoke characteristics. Sweet fruits and wood-smoke on the nose. Fat and full-bodied on the palate with a spicy sweetness and a brooding complexity that is rich, sweet and addictively decadent.
So, with all that fun stuff out of the way, on to the whisky!
Review: Flaming Heart Fifteenth Anniversary Edition, Bottled July 2015, 48.9% abv, 12,060 total bottles, Natural Color, Not chill filtered.
The Flaming Heart Fifteenth Anniversary Edition is a blended malt scotch whisky composed of single malts from the Caol Ila and Clynelish distilleries, plus a “Highland Malt”* that is a vatting of Clynelish, Teaninich and Dailuaine malts that are then given a secondary maturation for a minimum of two years in Compass Box’s own new French Oak hybrid casks.
Color: Soft golden amber
Nose: A peppery peat at first nosing – earthy and slightly spicy. There is a coastal, seaweed-y note, a hint of rubber boots, and a dash of lemon juice. After a few minutes, some soft white fruit notes, hints of herbal spices, and a touch of vanilla show up, but this remains very peat forward.
Taste: A splash of bright lemon juice on arrival, then some green apples and just a delicate, softly spiced, vanilla, before the peat makes its reasserts itself and this whisky becomes beautifully smoky! There is a burst of heat late. Water only serves to emphasize the peat and smoke elements, bringing in a softly ashy ending.
Finish: A touch of lemon-vanilla, soft wood smoke, a quick splash of brine, and the white fruits, then it winds up with a clean peaty, woody smoke and a softly ashy ending.
Overall: Outstanding! Not sure what else I can say about the Flaming Heart. I found this whisky to be quite complex and with a beautiful balance. While the Caol Ila controls the show, with their trademark peat notes that come across to me as “fresh” with a subtle lemony aspect, there are spice notes, an underlying sweetness, and enough complementary elements to make this a very engaging whisky.
Distillery: Caol Ila (27.1% vol); Clynelish (24.1% vol); “Highland Malt”* (10.3% vol); Caol Ila (38.5% vol)
Whisky Maker: Compass Box Whisky Company
Type: Blended Malt
Age: Not disclosed
Maturation: Refill American Oak hogshead (Caol Ila), Rejuvenated American Oak hogshead (Clynelish), New French Oak hybrid barrel (Highland Malt)
Price: $120 – $160
Availability: Likely no longer on retail shelves.
Sample Source: Trinity Hall