The Compass Box Spice Tree was surrounded with a lot of controversy back in 2006. They were inserting old French oak inner staves in to the barrel. The Scotch Whisky Association decided they didn’t like this technique as it was not in line with traditional whisky making, and therefore they subsequently banned it under a lot of controversy.
Luckily, the Spice Tree returned! As the old Spice Tree the new one is also based on Highland malts primarily sourced from the Clynelish distillery. The primary maturation is in a mix of first fill and refill American oak casks.
What changed about the secondary maturation is that inner staves is no longer used, as that was made illegal by the SWA. They now use heavily toasted French oak cask lids. The secondary maturation can last as long as 2 years!
Nose: Very light grapes and succulent fruit, hay, malt, golden syrup, ginger, orange rind, cider, peach, cloves and green melon.
Palate: Very creamy, spice really kicks in here, lots of ginger, cinnamon, cloves allspice, and slight aniseed, bitters, vanilla custard, light smoked canned peaches.
Finish: Light spiciness with plenty of butter in the finish, long, becoming dry.
Overall: A whisky that lives up to its name! Another stellar part of the Compass Box line- definitely one to try for fans of spicy highlanders.