Compass box have recently released another two big blended expressions, ” The Circus and Enlightenment” both are limited editions and both are NCF and Natural colour.. Compass box is one of those company’s that tries to have innovative and be forward thinking which sometimes gets them a slap on the wrist by those that don’t want change..  So when  I first heard they were about to release two more expressions shortly after the problems they have had over transaperency laws, I was excited to see what they would do about the those issues they had encountered.  This time they have still included a breakdown but not quite as extensive as before. As the information was starting to be released and the names came to my attention I had to chuckle to myself, I don’t know if it is coincidence or just the childish side to my imagination or if compass box have being extremely intelligent but names like ” the circus ” and “Enlightenment ” are absolutely fitting for the way things have gone over the last few years.. I’ll say no more on that.


The latest releases do come with the breakdown, although not as extensive it is still very welcome.. so here it is ..
57% of blended malt, married for a very long time in a refill sherry butt.
26% of blended grain whisky, also married in a refill sherry butt.
15% Benrinnes single malt from a first-fill sherry butt.
A tiny amount of blended malt from a refill sherry butt.




48%  Clynelish from first-fill American oak barrels.
37%  Glentauchers from first-fill American oak barrels.
11% Balblair from first-fill American oak barrels.
4%  Mortlach from rejuvenated American oak barrels.


Compass box goes on to tell us that part of the mystery to “The Circus” is they don’t actually know the full breakdown, what they do tell us is that the marrying period is ” extraordinary long ” and that over two thirds of the maturation actually took place in the marrying casks.. So how do they nose and taste.. Let’s find out.



Bottled at 49%abv.

Nose..  This starts off quite big, lots of those sherried favourites, sultanas,dates, candied orange, toffee apples and baked banana with caramelised sugar. Dark chocolate notes soon come into play with more spices and subtle oak leading into a rich honey and vanilla aroma.


Palate.. This is a step on the dark side, lots of delicious dark fruits, dates, figs, raisins and dark chocolate.  Cinnamon and nutmeg bring on the spice kick with poached pear and plums giving it a fresh feel.  The sweeter side tries to come through with the honey,  vanilla and butterscotch fighting to be noticed.


Finish.. A lovely lingering fruity finish with a spicy twist..



Bottled at 46%abv.


Nose.. The nose is a lot more subtle than I expected, lots of floral notes, Apple blossom and heather, fresh pear with green apple and soft scented honey. A little citrus note offers itself up with a hint  of barley sugar sweets.


Palate.. This palate starts where the nose left off, a bowl full of fruit salad.. Apples, pears, tangerine, peaches and a little syrup to pour over it.. A faint taste of heather honey and a little nuttiness in the background.


Finish.. Fruity !!


Thoughts.. These two malts are at each end of the spectrum, “The Circus” has that big, bold aspect while “Enlightenment ” is more delicate and soft.  As usual both of these are exceptional and are extremely well balanced, full of flavour and have wonderful aromas. Compass box have asked the question before about luxuary whisky, they have made blended whisky rather trendy, but most importantly they have made exceptionality good blended whisky. Any one who turns up their nose at blended whisky has not sampled these releases from compass box.

Thank you you to compass box for both samples..

8 Comments Add yours

  1. sorrenkrebs says:

    I’m sure you will too 👍


  2. Colin says:

    Love compass box. I am sure I will love these too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sorrenkrebs says:

    Thanks for the comments guys👍


  4. Sven W says:

    Thank you for this writeup. Very interesting piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Whiskyguy says:

    Great to see the blog going so well Sorren. Good review of these two bottles and I do fancy trying the Circus but I think it looks out of my budget.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carl says:

    Both bottles sound right up my alley. Although the price might just stop me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. sorrenkrebs says:

    Thanks Stuart.. And they do indeed 👍


  8. Stuart says:

    Good review mate, compass box do seem to release some great stuff..

    Liked by 1 person

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