Ten years ago, John Glaser of Compass Box started adding oak staves to barrels of whisky to spice up the maturation process for what would be his Spice Tree blend. The method is not new, as wine makers use oak staves all the time. However in the Scotch whisky world, that was a no-no. The SWA banned Glaser from utilizing this method. He ended up using a different legal method for his Spice Tree blend involving toasted French oak barrel heads.
A decade later, Compass Box is releasing a limited edition version of the blend simply named Spice Tree Extravaganza. Working within the spicy flavor profile of the standard Spice Tree, Glaser kicks things up a notch by adding sherry-cask matured and older malt whiskies. Spice Tree Extravaganza is bottled at 46% abv for a suggest retail price of $140. Only 12,240 bottles are available worldwide.
The nose captures the rich, spicy character of Spice Tree but adds a sherry kick. This is thanks to sherry cask-matured Glen Ord and Benrinnes that make up close to 50% of this whisky. I get lots of clove, sherry, vanilla and toffee-sweet malt. In the background is a bit of dry oak and cinnamon bark. The palate offers a blast of baking spices, toasted malt, and mulled wine, with hints of vanilla cream and blood orange zest. The finish is long, with spiced red fruits and oak notes.
Spice Tree Extravaganza is an interesting twist on the standard bottlings of Spice Tree. This limited edition blended malt whisky brings that signature spice, while adding nice sherry and older malt elements,which in turn provide more layers of complexity to unlock and enjoy. 8.5/10
Thanks to Compass Box for the sample! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.