Compass Box releases first limited edition of 2022

Compass Box releases first limited edition of 2022

Vellichor is a whisky inspired by the nostalgia of old bookshops

News | 05 Apr 2022

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London-based Scotch blender Compass Box Whisky says its first limited edition of 2022, Vellichor (44.6% ABV), is inspired by old bookshops. Just 3,246 bottles of the expression were made available to specialist retailers at an RRP of £400/US$450.

“To us, Vellichor starts with a word and an emotion: the experience of being in a second-hand bookshop and being enveloped by its aroma,” said Compass Box whiskymaker, James Saxon. “We scoured Scotland for the volumes we needed to express this, eventually discovering two parcels of Scotch whisky from a distiller and bottler in Speyside. Both were blends that had been aged further in sherry casks and were more than two decades old.

“These are some of our favourite whiskies to work with and we have capitalised on such discoveries before with previous limited editions, including The General and The Circus. Refining the very specific aromas of old books with whisky has been a moving process for us.”

“Vellichor” itself is a now-established neologism describing the fragrance and nostalgia of the old books found in second-hand bookshops; the idea is reflected in both the whisky and its packaging. The complex, transportive aroma of old books is a favourite of Compass Box whiskymaker and founder, John Glaser, as well as of Saxon (they both studied literature, spending many hours in libraries).

The ingredients of this blend include whisky from Highland Park and The Macallan, as well as a small amount of very old Caol Ila. Not many blends feature 23-year-old whisky from the The Macallan Distillery; fewer still are built around even older whisky from the Highland Park Distillery – it is the smoky and tropically fruity nature of this set of casks from the famous Orkney distillery that inspired the idea for Vellichor.

Whisky Magazine’s editor and deputy editor had the chance to try Vellichor – you can read their tasting notes below.

Tasting Notes

Compass BoxVellichor
Compass Box
ABV: 44.6
STYLE: Blended

Nose: Cooked cookie dough, almond paste, salty pork loin, spruce tree and a hint of spearmint. Green apple skin brings sweetness and foam banana.

Palate: Earthy peat quickly dries into day-old vanilla sponge, nutmeg and cinnamon, more of that green spruce note, more apple skin, a hint of sage, toasted brioche, and melted milk chocolate.

Finish: Peppermint and milk chocolate for a smooth ride out.

Comments: A nice complexity, not too heavy on the peated note, but instead it brings out flavours to compliment it.

Score 8.2

Nose: Olive brine and pear drops, fresh root ginger and lemongrass. There’s a waxy note with honey, like proper honeycomb, and old leather. Tomato stems, dried limes, and greenhouse aromas, with pine, sandalwood and ‘musty dunnage’. Pistachio butter brings some nuttiness.

Palate: Medium bodied. Wonderfully well-integrated and well-balanced flavours of old malt and grain. Dried pear and apple, burnt pastry crust, coconut water, and fried green peppers. A little green banana, sweet custard and delicate herbs — thyme and basil. Manuka honey and subtle spearmint, with a touch of lime cordial.

Finish: Long and well balanced. Lingers on the dried orchard fruit and subtle minty note.

Comments: Beautifully mature. This is a stellar example of an old blend. It’s saying ‘old dunnage’ to me more than ‘old bookshop’, but it’s definitely similar territory. Perhaps the day after a whisky tasting in a private library?

Score 8.5

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