Compass Box extends core range with Spaniard whisky

by Amy Hopkins

Compass Box is highlighting the influence of Spanish wine casks on whisky with its new The Story of the Spaniard expression, which has joined the brand’s core range.

The Story of the Spaniard is the first new bottling to join Compass Box’s permanent range in five years. ‘Core components’ of the blended malt have been aged in Sherry casks and Spanish red wine casks, while the use of new French oak casks is said to “add depth and complexity”. The first batch of The Story of the Spaniard, bottled at 43% abv in June 2018, contains 48% ex-Sherry cask-aged whisky and 25% ex-red wine cask-aged whisky. For future batches, the types of cask may vary from year to year “based on availability and experimentation”, but Compass Box said Spanish casks, either Sherry or Sherry-style wine casks, will "always play the key role". The name of the expression is inspired by Compass Box founder John Glaser’s encounter with an elderly man in southern Spain. “A long time ago, a friend and I journeyed through the south of Spain, avoiding the tourist spots and visiting every little village bar we could,” he said. “We called these little bars ‘wine closets’. They were tiny, filled with the heavy smoke of Ducados Negros, serving beers and liquors I had never heard of. “In one place, an elderly man took it upon himself to teach us about the local Sherry wines. They captured my imagination with their nutty, saline character and tremendous spectrum of style. “Years later, when I discovered Scotch whisky, I was reacquainted with Sherry through whiskies aged in former Sherry casks, which are known for the rich, deep flavours they provide. I’ve been drawn to this style of whisky ever since.” The Story of the Spaniard has launched in Europe with an RRP of £50 and will roll out to the US later this month with an RRP of US$65. Earlier this year, Compass Box appointed Cask Liquid Marketing as its exclusive distributor for the UK market.