In a world where malt whiskies get all the attention, people often overlook the pleasures of good Blended Scotch Whisky. Compass Box believes it is time for the world to take a fresh look at this style, and that is why they have created Great King Street.
More than just a new brand, Great King Street is a mission, a mission dedicated to reviving interest in one style of whisky only: Blended Scotch Whisky. This is the style of Scotch whisky that combines flavourful single malt whiskies with delicate, elegant single grain whiskies.
There are good reasons why the blending of grain whisky and malt whisky has been the mainstay of the Scotch business for well over 150 years. Well-made Blended Scotch Whiskies have an elegance and approachability that make them a joy to drink. They are far more versatile than other styles of whisky, equally enjoyable drunk on their own or with ice, soda water, or in cocktails.
The first release: Artist's Blend
Five key things set apart Compass Box's approach to making 'Artist's Blend' from any other Blended Scotch Whisky brand.
Great Grain. First, they start with the very highest quality single grain Scotch whiskies. Grain whiskies are the foundation of good Blended Scotch. They source theirs from a renowned Lowland distillery and all of it is aged in 'first fill' American oak barrels, which makes the grain whisky much richer and sweeter on the palate than those aged in larger, refill casks.
More Malt. Secondly, they use a higher proportion of malt whisky than most other Blends. 'Artist's Blend' consists of almost 50% malt whisky, far more than the 30 or 40% most blends use. This provides more character and complexity.
Better Oak. Compass Box is are known for thier fanaticism about quality oak casks. Every cask of whisky used to make 'Artist's Blend' is of a much higher quality than is typical in Scotch whisky: first-fill American oak casks, first-fill European oak ex-Sherry butts and, something no other Blended Scotch uses, new oak. In this case, they use new, heavily-toasted French oak.
Bottled Naturally. Unlike any other Blended Scotch whisky, 'Artist's Blend' is bottled at its natural colour (no E150 colouring agent added at all!) and without the chill filtration prior to bottling that most Scotch whiskies go through. This leaves the whisky full of its natural complexity and mouthfeel.
Traditional Strength. Compass Box bottles 'Artist's Blend' at 43% alcohol by volume, a strength traditionally used in Scotland many years ago. It's bottled at this strength so 'Artist's Blend' has more presence and character when mixed with soda as a Highball, or in cocktails.