Compass Box’s Double Single Is Peak Blended Whisky

If whisky blending is an art form (we think so) then the Compass Box brand is one of the premier studios in the world for edgy, thoughtful bottles. Each of their releases is a careful attempt at pushing a theme in the form of a tasty dram of whisky. Consider the latest edition of Double Single another achievement of high whisky art.

Double Single comes out of a simple concept: Blending a single grain whisky with a single malt whisky. This is the third edition of Double Single, which was first created in 2003 when Compass Box founder John Glaser was approached by bar owners with a challenge: find a perfect match between one single malt whisky and one single grain whisky for a perfect blend.

Not to belabor the point, but sometimes artists create self-imposed limitations to test themselves. In this case it just came from friends. “I loved the idea,” Glaser said in a statement, “and our first two editions have become something of a cult favorite.”

Glaser says he recently got his hands on some great single malt and decided to take on the challenge again. He blended single malt from Glen Elgin aged in re-charred hogshead bourbon barrels (a larger size than your standard bourbon barrel) with single grain from Girvan distillery aged in re-charred bourbon barrels. The blend breaks down to about 72 percent Glen Elgin single malt and 28 percent Girvan single grain.

It should be noted that blended whisky is often composed of around a dozen sourced liquids — a bit of peat from one distillery, some sweetness from another, domineering hints of oak from a third. That method has produced some truly amazing bottles of whisky over the years. Doing it with just two ingredients, however, makes for a lot less wiggle room to fine tune the final recipe.

Double Single hits retail shelves June 1. Less than 6,000 bottles will be available to the world, so expect a fraction of that here. It’s slated to retail for around $175, compassboxwhisky.com. For more Compass Box whiskeys, available for delivery by Drizly, go here.