Compass Box Hedonism

“Crying in the Grain”

Whisky Review # 982

Country: Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Brand: Compass Box Hedonism
Type: Blended Scotch Grain Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mixed Ex-Bourbon Casks (Mostly 1st Fill)
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Jan from The Netherlands. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$  60-70(March 2023)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Borderline Okay
Buying Advice: 😐 There might be people who love it but I'm not one of them


Chardonnay (Natural Color)


Light and slightly Nervous. The Alcohol is noticeable. I would suspect a mix of older and younger Grain Whisky. Sweet as expected with lots of Vanilla, Coconut, Fruit & Perfume. It's okay but you don't have to wake me up for it.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Grain, Vanilla, Coconut, Grass and Straw, Cake with Strawberries & Cream, Dough, Yeast, Floral Perfume, Green Apple, Pear, Pepper, Cinnamon and Mint.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Buttered Toast, Honey, Mandarin, Lemon, Toasted Pineapple and Banana, Herbal Tea, Raspberry Jam, Peanut Butter, Nougat, Cloves, Aniseed, Nectarine, Wet Rocks and a hint of Nail Remover.

Port Dundas


Young and a bit Thin but surprisingly Creamy at the same time. Sweet at first but with increasing Sourness and a Bitterness I don't care for. The Alcohol remains noticeable.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Grain, Vanilla, Coconut, Dough, Grass and Straw, Charred Oak, Floral Soap, Milk - & White Chocolate, Banana Ice Cream, Pepper, Cinnamon, Licorice and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Buttered Toast, Salted Peanuts, Sour Berries, Herbal Tea, Bitter Orange, Sugar, Wet Tobacco Leaves, Cloves, Ginger and Paint Thinner.


Middle-Long and slightly Hot but quite Creamy at the same time. Sweet at first but with developing Bitter and Sour notes towards the Medium-Dry end. There's a bit of an Artificial Tutti-Frutti Bubble Gum feel to it and I don't particularly care for the Bitter notes here. I find Sweet Grain, Vanilla, Caramel, Buttered Toast, Coconut, Honey, Charred Oak, Banana Ice Cream, Sour Orange/Lemon, Milk Chocolate, Wet Rocks, Iron and Copper, Floral Soap, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Licorice and Mint.

Cameron Bridge

Drinking Advice:

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

Rating: 6  (******)

Nose: 6.5 - Taste: 6 - Finish: 6 

*** 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 did 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. As a result I have decided to use a new rating system this year. I will still give a rating for Nose, Taste and Finish but now on the scale from 1-10 whereby 1 represents the worst and 10 the best. The sum of these numbers will be divided by 3 to get the final score. I hope this new scoring makes it easier for you to understand what I thought about the whisky I'm reviewing.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink. Please let me know what you think of the new rating system and leave your comments and/or suggestions.

Drinking Experience Neat
: Okay at best


As always, Compass Box informs us accurately about the contents of this Blended Grain Whisky. However, since I don't know what Batch I'm tasting today it's fair to say that it most likely contains Grain Whisky from Port Dundas, Cameron Bridge & perhaps North British and matured in a variety of Ex-Bourbon casks. 

In general I'm not a huge fan of Grain Whisky but I did enjoy some well matured Single Grains in the past. This Hedonism blend however does not work for me at all. The Alcohol is way too present and I simply dislike the Bitterness and the kind of Artificial Sweet Bubble-Gum taste on the Palate and in the Finish. I'm glad I had the chance to try a sample first because I don't know what I would have done with a full bottle. A present for my brother in law perhaps 😎! In any case I would urge you to follow my example and try a sample first.

PS: I was told that different batches can vary significantly. It's a pity I don't know the specific Batch number of the sample I reviewed today.

Cheers! 🥃

Jan van den Ende                                                                         March 16, 2023

North British

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