Compass Box – Great King Street – Glasgow Blend

Tasting Notes

After Kirsty’s interview with Chris Maybin (if you haven’t done so already, read it here).  We review The Glasgow Blend.

What Compass Box Say:

In his 1930 book “Whisky”, Aeneas MacDonald teaches us that Glaswegians historically preferred fuller bodied and more flavour-packed whiskies than people in other parts of the world. So what better name for a whisky such as this?

33% Lowland grain whisky from a Fife distillery. 67% Malt whisky from the regions of Islay, the Highlands and Speyside.  The Islay single malt comes from south shore distillery (approximately 20% of the total recipe), vatted with a fruity malt from the village of Brora and a rich sherrried Speyside malt from the Aberlour region (approx. 33%). A small percentage of Speyside and Highland malts complete the recipe.

A combination of first-fill Sherry casks, first-fill and refill ex-Bourbon barrels and a small portion of new French oak finishing.  Bottled at 43%, Not chill-filtered and available here at a cost of £27.45.

In the Glasgow Blend you’ll find a rich vein of peaty-smokiness, underpinned by sherry cask-aged whiskies, full of dried fruit and wine character. The palate is full and round, with a sweetness typical of whiskies from our company.

The packaging reflects that for decades, The Wellington Statue, outside Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art, has been cheekily topped by a traffic cone, something the local population has taken to heart as a symbol of their sense of humour. The statue has become one of Glasgow’s most iconic images and graces the label of this whisky.

Compass Box flavour descriptors:

Full, rich and smoky on the palate, with notes of baking spices and sherry wine notes.

What we say:

Glasgow Blend
Glasgow Blend

Compass Box is always an interesting creature, innovative and never compromising on ingredients in search of the perfect blend, whether 5 years old or 20 years old, if it makes and amazing product then they will use it.  Launched as an edition to the Great King great range, which previously contained only The Artist’s Blend.



A lovely initial sweetness, with plenty of vanilla and warm toffee.  There is a fresh comforting note of freshly tumbled dried sheets, with whipped double cream and soft melting milk chocolate.  There is a light nutty note, like sweet chestnuts followed by a slightly undercooked crumble topping with the buttery notes at the fore.  The fruits start to make themselves known with dried apricots and dried apples, before fresh peach with a dash of plum and plump raisins start to come through.  This is followed by lovely Christmas spices, cinnamon, nutmeg and gingerbread houses.


The palate carries across much of the nose, but this time with the wonderful addition of  some peat smoke.  It’s almost a surprise to find it as the nose hid it so well with all those lovely creamy notes.  There’s a touch of floral which comes through along with a slightly damp oak note.  The sweetness is still there but these are kept in check by the peat.  The stewed fruits are stronger, blackberries, plums and dates.  Big hits of ginger and cinnamon are backed up with lemon zest and a touch of lime.


A smooth finish, with the rich fruits tailing off first, leaving a lovely buttery, toffee sweetness, which is constantly peppered with wisps of peat smoke.

Overall Conclusions:

Well, I wasn’t sure that I would like this one, but wow the complexity.  The price point on this is really reasonable, there are so many flavours to find in this and the fruit, sweetness, and drying smoke really leave you guessing at every sip.  I would definitely pick this one up, it’s stunning and shows just how amazing blends can be.  To all those out there producing blends, watch and learn!




The first thing that hits me is a peach melba, quickly followed up by some citrus and acetone notes, in a good way though.  There is a slight hint of burnt heather and autumn leaves make an appearance, with some boiled milk cooling on the cooker which gives way to a soft smoke like the last embers of a beach fire.


A quick hit of peat smoke covers the mouth, this quickly dissipates leaving a lovely creamy sensation, like a mild korma.  The peach from the nose finally enters and is a welcome addition to the creaminess.  There is a small touch of spice dancing at the back of your tongue before the whisky imparts a lovely creamy citrus finish which lasts a good length of time.

Overall Conclusion:

A wonderful addition to the Great King Street range and Compass Box in general.  You can feel the peat from the experimental GKS which has been available lately.  A terrific blend and one worthy of the Compass Box name, reasonably priced at under £30 and being a Glasgow boy, this is one dram that will always be on my shelf.


2 thoughts on “Compass Box – Great King Street – Glasgow Blend”

  1. Bought a bottle the other night. Gave it a try. Nice dram. Got more smoke, peat and less of the fruit but I like it very much. Thanks for your great review. Also got the peat monster. Not sure which I like better at this point. Keep up the good work on the reviews.

    1. Hey Gary, the Peat Monster is fantastic isn’t it. If you like your peat you will love it. Great King Street is so easy drinking, definitely a “session” dram. Glad you’re enjoying the site. Cheers

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