Hedonism is a great name for whisky. It evokes that luxurious pleasure that you get from kicking back and enjoying a favorite vice.
And every year around this time, Compass Box seems to rejuvenate the whisky market by dropping a light, sweet, decadent whisky into the market, and this year’s Hedonism, The Muse release is no different.
The Muse pays homage to an image that first appeared on Compass Box’s first release 17 years ago. Whiskymaker Jill Boyd together with founder John Glaser put together The Muse by taking unique casks of single grain whisky from five distilleries and combining them for this blend.
Whether it’s a marketing push or a legitimate loss of records, they say that the age of at least one of the casks is unclear, so there isn’t an age statement on this bottle. It’s a bummer, because blends like this benefit from being able to share more information about provenance with their audience, but we have to say this whisky doesn’t need an age statement—we like it just fine without knowing.
Grain whisky can be off-putting to some drinkers because they expect more body from “scotch,” but grain whisky can be rather versatile. Because it’s a grain whisky, you won’t get those bolder aromas and flavors that come with malted barley. That allows the barrel to influence the whisky much more, and more subtly. You’ll taste things with this whisky that might have been covered up by a single malt.
Hedonism, The Muse is spring in a glass. It’s bright and citric with tons of vanilla and just a hint of orange blossom on the nose. Tasting it reveals wave after wave of honey, a bit more of that vanilla, and a hint of smoke and cake icing. Caramel comes in and out (likely due to the influence of some ex-bourbon casks) but generally this bottle keeps it fresh and green with light, spring-season flavors.
Because it’s proofed around 53 percent it has the body to compete with a bit of water, but there’s no reason ice should come into play—there’s been enough of that this winter. The Muse is the kind of grain whisky you serve with some fruit on the first outdoor evening of summer, or the kind you start an evening of drinking with, when the rest of your whisky collection seems just a little too bold for the moment.
They’ve released just over 3,000 bottles worldwide, and for $275 it’s a worthwhile investment. [compassboxwhisky.com]
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