Compass Box Menagerie

Compass Box Menagerie

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Compass Box Menagerie

Country: Scotland 
Producer: Compass Box
Type: Blended Malt
Age: NAS
Cask: See below chart
ABV: 46%
Proof: 92
Price: $115

Nose: Stone fruits, rice wine, grilled apricots, beeswax, lemon, a touch of smoke, candied ginger, milk chocolate

Palate: Malt sweetness, creamy, honeydew melon, cinnamon, heather, earthy peat, leather

Finish: Long, vanilla, toasted oak, nutty, white peppers, nutmeg, butter, flowers, pistachio

I started the year with a stunning whisky if you remember, it was called Compass Box Magic Cask. Magic Cask and Paul John Mithuna set my bar so high for the year so that I am having a hard time reviewing whiskies ever since. I was planning to get Compass Box Menagerie earlier in the year, but shipments from Europe are still facing disastrous processes due to the pandemic.

A menagerie is a collection of captive exotic animals kept especially for an exhibition, a precursor to the modern zoological garden. Compass Box decided to find the wilder side of Scotch whisky with this metaphor and started their search for wild whiskies focusing on their distillation and maturation processes. 

The result is the Menagerie of Compass Box  with unique malt whiskies from Mortlach, Deanston, Glen Elgin, Laphroaig and more.

Off-Topic Knowledge: Do you know The Glass Menagerie?
The Glass Menagerie is a memory play by Tennessee Williams that premiered in 1944 and catapulted Williams from obscurity to fame

Tell Us More About Compass Box Menagerie?

Compass Box Menagerie brings a variance of malt whiskies together as mentioned above. The main component is coming from The Mortlach Distillery that was aged in a recharred barrel. Aged at the legal drinking age in Europe, Mortlach offers some of the wild aromas like leather and chocolate notes which combines with fruity and citrusy flavors that come from Deanston and Glen Elgin. Everything is balanced with Compass Box's signature Highland Malt Blend but also taken to a new level by Laphroaig's malt whisky.

The Mortlach Distillery - Single Malt - Recharred Barrel
Highland Malt Blend - Custom French Oak Barrels Medium and Heavy Toast
The Deanston Distillery - Single Malt - Refill Hogshead
The Glen Elgin Distillery - Single Malt - Recharred Barrel
The Laphroaig Distillery - Single Malt - Recharred Hogshead
The Glen Elgin Distillery - Single Malt - Refill Sherry - Seasoned Butt
The Deanston Distillery - Single Malt - Refill Sherry - Seasoned Butt

Tasting Compass Box Menagerie

Upon first nosing, I could get those familiar flavors from some of the old Compass Box whiskies like tropical fruits, beeswax, hazelnuts. Stone fruits got more intense with the time accompanied by a lovely feeling of rice wine, grilled apricots. Beeswax is always on the foundation with a high lemon note. There is a very subtle feeling of smoke which increases just a bit in time. This crowd of flavors are capped with candied ginger and milk chocolate.

The palate has an intense malt sweetness with a creamy texture. Honeydew melon, heather, cinnamon, leather is dancing around which is tested with some earthy, medical peat and black pepper once in a while. The finish is long with nutty and even pistachio aromas. White peppers keep the tension up and then in time it is very much mellowed with vanilla, toasted oak and papaya.

Compass Box Menagerie

Compass Box Menagerie


I have to admit a thing. The first tasting I did last night was deceiving. Maybe I just did it fast, I was welcome by an instant sharp citrusy nose. Then I just put the bottle back on the shelf and did two more samplings this morning. It felt totally different. Your mood, what you ate, everything has an impact on how you taste the whisky, so give it a try a few times if you have the chance.

Compass Box Menagerie started with familiar flavors as I wrote but it was also a bit sharper on the citrus, lemon notes. For me, it had an increased rating as I tasted through it, and the finish was spectacular. On the blind tasting, I noted 'it is like walking through a fruit orchard and eating a Duck Confit with glazed bacon sprinkles on it.' I loved the intensity of the fruits, loved the oily texture with darker, earthy flavors. Candied ginger and the peaty flavors are just balanced very well. The finish was my favorite part as it ended with pistachios, flowers, toasted oak and vanilla.

The Magic Cask is still my favorite Compass Box bottle of the year so far but the Menagerie shows different facets of the Scotch whisky as planned.