Compass Box Menagerie

”Bland Me Shape Me”

Whisky Review # 960

Country: Scotland
Brand: Compass Box Menagerie - Limited Edition - 7741 Bottles - Bottled 01/2021
Type: Blended Scotch Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (See Conclusion for details)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mixed Casks (See Conclusion for details)
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 100-120 (August 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😔 Quite on the limit as far as I'm concerned
Buying Advice: 😐 Well-made but a bit Thin and bland for my taste 


Golden (Natural Color)


Pleasant but a little Thin and Shy. A mix of Medium-Sweet & Sour Malty and Fruity notes. The Peat & Smoke of Laphroaig are noticeable despite the low percentage of this distillery in the blend. The Sherry cask influence is limited.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Wet Grass and Straw, Wet Peat and Campfire Smoke, Yogurt with mixed Fruit Flavours (Strawberry, Apricot, Nectarine, Mango), Toasted Pineapple, slightly Sour Berries & Cherries, Damp Oak, Caffe Latte, Ginger and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Caramel, Nuts, Herbs, Resin, Wax, Iodine, Tar, Varnish, Lemon, Green Apple, Pear, Orange, Floral Perfume, Leather, Bacon and Nutmeg.



Again, quite pleasant but a bit Thin. An ABV of around 46% would have been more adequate. Mostly Sweet with some additional Sour & Salty notes. Laphroaig makes its mark again. It's well-made but there's no Wow factor.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Campfire Smoke, Wet Peat, Green Apple, Grapefruit, Cherry, Toasted Pineapple, Banana, Charred Oak, Caffe Latte, Damp Leaves, Mint, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg and Dark Chocolate.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
Honey, Salted Caramel, Tar, Hospital, Ashes, Grass and Straw, Roasted Nuts, Melon, Papaya, Mango, Lemon, Leather, Tobacco, Bacon, Cardamom, Cinnamon & Aniseed.


Medium-Long. Sweet and Sour with a light Bitterness towards the Medium-Dry end.I find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey, Grass and Straw, Wax, Campfire Smoke, Wet Peat, Tar, Ashes, Hospital, Leather, Tobacco, Green Apple, Grapefruit, Banana, Mango, Pear, Nectarine, Toasted Pineapple, Roasted Nuts, Mint, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pepper, Nutmeg, Charred Oak, Bacon and Dark Chocolate.

Glen Elgin

Drinking Advice:

Given the size of the sample, I only tasted the Menagerie neat.

Rating: 84.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7.5 (*******1/2)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!


Drinking Experience Neat
: Good


As always, Compass Box informs us accurately about the contents of this Blended Malt. The main component (42.6%) was produced at Mortlach distillery and matured in Re-Charred Ex Bourbon barrels. The other components are Deanston (17.1%) that matured in Re-Fill Hogsheads and Re-Fill Sherry-seasoned Butts, Glen Elgin (18.1%) that matured in Re-Charred Ex Bourbon Barrels & Re-Fill Sherry-seasoned Butts and Laphroaig (5,4%) that matured in Re-Charred Ex-Bourbon Hogsheads. The remaining 16.8% is a blend of various Highland distilleries that matured in a mix of Medium- and Heavy-toasted Custom French Oak Barrels. The idea behind the Menagerie is to show the diversity of Scotch Single Malt Whisky, but especially those that present a Meaty character. The age of the Malts used for the Blend is said to be between 11 and 20 years and averages 15 Y.

Mixed feeling about this Menagerie. As usual, Compass presents an acceptable mix that is pleasant enough at first sight and will certainly please newcomers to the world of whisky. Fruity, easy enough and a touch of Peat and Smoke. What more can you possibly want? Well, a bit more body and depth in my opinion. It's all a bit bland and on the Thin side. And quite expensive, even considering the 15 Year average age of this blended Malt. I can see why many people would like this Menagerie but personally I wouldn't buy a full bottle.

PS: When I smelled the empty glass after a couple of hours it strongly reminded me of Clynelish. I would not be surprised if that distillery was responsible for all or part of the Highland mix in the Menagerie.

Cheers! 🥃

Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 25, 2022


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