I picture a person who knows little about Scotch roaming the whisky aisle at their favorite shop. This person scans the shelf and comes across a whisky called “Three Year Old Deluxe.” I can’t imagine the expression on the person’s face when he/she looks down and discovers the $300 price tag. “$300 for a 3-year-old whisky?!?”
Yep, $300 for a 3-year-old whisky. That’s what Compass Box suggests the price be set at. Nuts right? Actually, the price is just where it needs to be. Obviously, it’s no ordinary 3-year-old whisky. Only 0.4% of this whisky is three years old. The remaining 99.6% is made of whisky MUCH older than that. Compass Box’s Three Year Old Deluxe is turning an old whisky regulation on its head – whisky makers can only disclose the youngest component whisky in their blend. Compass Box’s head honcho, John Glaser, wants to tell you what’s in his whisky, and even campaigned to get this law changed.
Glaser consulted his lawyers and received some advice. In a statement, Glaser said “While we must not actively promote the ages of the components used in our blends, we can provide information when we are asked for it by interested consumers.”
So put simply, ask and you shall receive. I did just that, but I’ve been asked not to publicly release the information. According to an interview I had with Glaser recently, my posting the information could be perceived as promoting, which could prompt a complaint by an Scotch Whisky Association member.
Onto the whisky. Three Year Old Deluxe is made of whiskies from “peaty malt whisky distilled on the Isle of Skye” (read: Talisker) and Clynelish, and bottled at 51.6% abv. The aromatic nose features spiced tree fruit, clove, sherried malt and some vanilla bean, along with a hint of white pepper. Taste-wise, the signature waxy fruitiness of Clynelish comes through in a big way. First, there’s a richness and sweetness from the older components. The minuscule amount of 3-year-old Clynelish adds a bit of vibrancy. A bit of clove, vanilla creme brûlée, and spice lead to a whiff of smoke on the back end. The medium-length finish is a touch spicy, sweet and smoky.
Fantastic stuff here. The blending of Clynelish and Talisker make for a rich, sweet, fruity and somewhat smoky whisky. If that flavor combination appeals to you, and you have a $300 to spend on a whisky, call your favorite store now to reserve a bottle. There’s not a lot of this stuff to go around – only about 3,200 bottles are available worldwide. Three Year Old Deluxe makes the shortlist as one of my favorite whiskies this year. 9.5/10
Thanks to Compass Box for the sample! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.