Compass Box Flaming Heart FH16MMVI 48.9% NV
€ 279,99 (in Vat)
|Distilled date||Not Specified|
|Condition||In Original Box|
Serge Valentin (90)
Another vatting containing 1⁄4 Caol Ila and lots of Clynelish plus again a little Dailuaine for good measure. Colour: straw. Nose: Caol Ila shines through first (peat, fresh apples and smoked oysters) but Clynelish is well here, with another kind of ‘coastality’ (less smoky) and lots of green and yellow fruits: pears, plums, white peaches plus hints of diesel oil. Excellent, very clean, perfectly balanced, with a great freshness. Especially the chosen proportion of Caol Ila is perfect. Mouth: exactly the same happens on the palate. First Caol Ila (and a rather wild one, at that) with a straightforward smokiness, then mingling with Clynelishe’s complex fruitiness and waxiness. Lots of spices, at that, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, kumquats, dried figs, soft curry… Very, very good. Long, ample finish on both peat and spices plus notes of bananas flambéed and finally lots of pepper. Wonderful I think – now, this is for single malt drinkers! My favourite Compass Box so far and by far. 90 points, with my modest (yeah) congratulations and encouragements.
First released in 2006, Flaming Heart combined whisky matured in new French oak with the smoky Islay character. It was a popular blended malt and there have been four bottlings so far. The latest fifth release is called ‘15th Anniversary Edition’ and celebrates the creation of Compass Box When it was launched, Compass Box provided the exact composition :
38,5% of Caol Ila 14yo from refill American oak hogsheads
27,1% of Caol Ila 30yo from refill American oak hogsheads
24,1% of Clynelish 20yo from rejuvenated American oak hogsheads
10,3% of married Clynelish / Teaninich / Dailuaine 7yo which was finished in new French oak hybrid barrels for at least two years.
Apparently the Scotch Whisky Association received a complaint about the disclosure of this Information. A maturation period or age may only be specified in the description, presentation or labelling of a spirit drink where it refers to the youngest alcoholic component. Although I get the reasoning behind this rule (i.e. to avoid producers claiming a blend is composed with Caol Ila 30yo when it contains only a couple of spoons), I see no harm in being completely open and disclosing the entire formula. In fact we should applaud such openness when most producers choose to go NAS and hide all details altogether! In the meantime a whole list of distilleries and bottlers signed an open letter to the SWA asking for a change in regulations. I really hope it will only be a matter of time before this stupid rule is revised. Until this happens Compass Box can’t mention the ages of the components in official Compass Box Flaming Heart 15th AnniversaryCompass Box Flaming Heart ‘15th Anniversary Edition’ (48,9%, Compass Box 2015, 12.060 btl.)
Nose: mostly the (older) Caol Ila profile. Very refined ashy notes, whiffs of antiseptics and vorn leather. Some sweeter apples and marzipan in the background. Cinnamon. Light maritime touches, which nicely marries with the waxy Clynelish notes. Maybe not as full-bodied as a single malt Caol Ila, but excellent nonetheless.
Mouth: less delicate now, sharper, with much more peaty notes, smoke and pepper. Still quite leathery. Apples and berries. Hazelnuts. Then back to sooty notes and eucalyptus before it fades on waxy and oily notes, with a very light herbal bitterness.
Finish: quite long, smoky and medicinal, with an underlying fresh citrus note and a nutty dryness.
As a blended malt, this is brilliant stuff, although I guess you can’t do much wrong when 65% is solid Caol Ila. Complex, mature and well composed – if anything it confirms that Compass Box is the king of premium blends.