Flaming Heart 4th Edition Review

“A Potential Cracker”

Country: Scotland 
Brand: Flaming Heart (4th Edition)
Bottler: Compass Box Whisky Co.
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 48.9 %

Colour: Straw/Yellow Gold

Nose: Wet Earth, Slightly Medicinal Peat, Tar, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Shell Fish, Wet Newspaper, Malt, Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Diesel Oil, Lemon, Walnut Shells, Vanilla, Perfumed Soap, light Honey, Caramel, ripe Banana, Pineapple, Sweet Cherries, Straw, Charred Oak, Menthol, Pepper, Salt and Nutmeg. It's a well-balanced Sweet & Peat combo but it lacks intensity. It's rather Light and there's a Young feel to the Spirit. The Alcohol is reasonably well integrated.  

Palate: More Citrus than on the Nose, especially Lemon and Grapefruit. I also find Sweet Peat, Cold Smoke, Brine, Ashes, Charred Oak, Salted Butter, Shell Fish, Apple, Vanilla, Green Olives, Espresso Coffee, Medicinal notes, Sugared Cereals, Nut Shells, Straw, Pepper and Nutmeg. The Alcohol is noticeable here as it is in the Finish.  

Finish: Quite Long and Salty with Lemon, Cherry, Licorice, Sugared Tea, Wet Clay, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Shell Fish, Charred Oak, Menthol, Pepper and Green Olives.  

I added a bit of Water and on the Nose the impression of a Young Spirit with a high ABV increases. I find some Meaty notes as well as a bit of Tropical Fruit. I don't think added Water improves the Palate and I get too much Sugared Tea in the Finish. But the Flaming Heart gives you some space to experiment with a couple of drops at the time.

Rating: 85

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5 

General Remarks: This is the 4th Edition of the Flaming Heart Expression by Compass Box. It was released and bottled in August 2012. Only 9147 bottles were made available. Like all whiskies released by Compass Box it's Naturally Coloured and Non Chill-Filtered. The Single Malts used to compose this Blend mainly matured in refill Ex-Bourbon Casks and New Heavily Toasted French Oak Casks. For the first time Compass also included some Ex-Sherry Casks in the composition. The 4th Edition consists of roughly 2/3 Clynelish, 1/3 Laphroaig as well as a bit of Malt from Speyside and the Islands. It is sold at around 110 US Dollars on average. (April 2015). 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: This is my first Flaming Heart so I can't compare this 4th Edition to its predecessors. Let me start by saying that this is a solid Blended Malt that offers a nice combination of Sweet Highland and Peated Islay. It's quite well balanced. The ABV is a tad too high in my opinion and it seems to cover up the relative youth of the Malts used in this Blend. The Heavily Charred New French Oak tends to do the same. In the end I miss the Intensity and Depth that would come with a longer more natural cask maturation. Just imagine this blend if it would be bottled at around 15 Years. I think it would be a complete cracker! As it is, it' still good but considering its relative youth it's quite expensive at over a 100 US Dollars per bottle. 

Jan van den Ende                                                                    April 16, 2015

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