There are several ways a whisky grabs your interest. It might be because it’s a new release from your favourite distillery, blender or independent bottler. You might really like the bottle or the label. There might be a finish you like or you want to try. It may have been reviewed by a whisky blogger you trust or in a whisky magazine or website and it got a good review. Maybe it was on offer at your off-licence or online shop, and you’re feeling adventurous. It might be because you’re getting bored with this introduction that still doesn’t get to the point. Or because friends recommended this bottle, giving it high praise. And in Compass Box Orchard House’s case, it was the latter. I didn’t have time to go taste it at Whisky Live Paris in 2021 as I was there as an exhibitor, but people I met there, owning a great pub in Rennes, and friends from the Whisky Circus, highly recommended this blended malt. It was cheap, too. And I like Compass Box. And the label was beautiful. So I decided to trust them and buy a bottle. For at least the three first reasons, but the fourth was the cherry on top.
Compass Box Orchard House Review
As usual with Compass Box, the recipe of the blend is a bit complex, but almost fully disclosed on their website (though in this case we don’t have the age of its components). The main component of Orchard House is coming from Linkwood, from first-fill bourbon barrels, and counts for 39% of the blend. Then we have 29% coming from Clynelish, also from first-fill bourbon barrels. The third one in terms of volume comes from Benrinnes, once again matured in first-fill bourbon barrels. Then, a bit of secrecy, as the fourth component is from an undisclosed distillery located near the town of Aberlour (so probably not Aberlour Distillery. Maybe some Macallan?) revatted in Oloroso sherry-seasoned butts. Finally, 2% of the blend comes from some first-fill bourbon barrel matured Caol Ila, and 2% from Compass Box’ usual Highland Malt blend, which is a blend of malt whiskies sourced from Glen Moray, Balmenach and Tomatin. Regarding the age, I’ve read (but I’m not sure) that most of the components would be 8 years old, while the undisclosed distillery would be 6yo and the Highland malt blend would be 10yo. But anyway, all of that makes it look promising. This blend is the creation of James Saxon, and it was released in 2021 at 46% ABV, without colouring nor chill filtration. Expect to pay €36 to €40 in Germany, £41 and change at TWE or MoM in the UK, and 52€ in France at LMDW.
Extremely fruity. Immediately, apple and pear take the lead, with peach, pineapple and orange and lemon zest in the background. There is a buttery note as well as honey, vanilla and distant notes of wood.
Fruity again on the palate, but with a spices kick that was not on the nose. Apple and pear have the lead on the palate like previously on the nose, and are joined with candied ginger, grapefruit and roasted pineapple. A bit of wood, some icing sugar, honey, cough syrup and liquorice and mint.
Apples, peppermint, a bit of oak, honey, quite long.
This is a very, very good summer dram and really bang for your bucks. It wears its name perfectly. You’re drinking a bowl of fruits and for the price asked for a bottle, it’s a no-brainer. Buy one, open it, and drink it. It’s great in the summer but honestly, it’s still winter at the time of writing and I’m enjoying it quite a lot too.
Photos: Compass Box. Reviewed from my own bottle, bought with my own money.