Compass Box Enlightenment Whisky Review

Photo courtesy of Compass Box Whisky

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past several months, you know about Compass Box founder John Glaser’s push for transparency in the scotch whisky industry.  Specifically, he is looking for the ability to write the ages and percentages of the whiskies that make up his blends.

The current European law states that a whisky producer may only list the age of  youngest whisky in the blend.  That law was meant to protect customers from certain marketing practices.  For example, say Producer X puts out a whisky that’s made with 99.99% 3-year-old whisky and 0.01% 40-year-old whisky.  In the past that producer could have marketed the whisky as containing 40-year-old liquid inside, even though it may amount to a thimble full of 40-year-old whisky.  As it currently stands, the law says that whisky must be labeled as 3 years old IF the producer chooses to put an age statement on the label.

Enter Enlightenment, Compass Box’s new limited edition blended malt whisky that, according to Glaser, “draws attention to the issues with the current regulations and encourages the industry to respond.”

If you want to sign a petition to help change this law, visit

Enlightenment is non-chill filtered, natural color and bottled at 46% abv.  It retails for about $85.  While no age statements have been released, we know where the whiskies came from.  The breakdown is as follows:

  • 48.2% malt whisky from Clynelish aged in first fill American barrels
  • 36.7% malt whisky from Glentauchers aged in first fill American barrels
  • 10.8% malt whisky from Balblair aged in first fill American barrels
  • 4.3% malt whisky from Mortlach aged in rejuvenated American barrels

The nose is light, sweet and fruity.  Ripe green fruits, vanilla, candle wax and spice spill out of the glass.  Taste-wise, Enlightenment keeps the light character of the nose, at least at first.  Tart Granny Smith apples and honeyed berries dominate the front of the palate.  Lemon peel and vanilla creme soon develop alongside a touch of cinnamon.  Towards the end of the finish a richness in the form of toffee appears, leading to a spiced pear finish.

Enlightenment makes for a great sipper on a summer’s eve while sitting on the porch with a good book.  Not too heavy.  Not too complex.  It is one of the lighter blended malts I’ve had in a while, but the blast of richness near the back palate really elevates the experience.  I’ve read a few reviews stating lack of complexity in this whisky, but I like Enlightenment for what it is, and not what I think it should be.


Thanks to Compass Box for the sample.  As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.