Review No.166. Compass Box Oak Cross

Next up is the Oak Cross.  This is made of malts from Alness, Brora and Carron and is aged in first fill american oak and new french oak.  I expect to come across some of those traditional bourbon notes with a hint of spice from the french oak.  This is what I find quite fun about knowing the composition of a blend because you can test out your knowledge and assumptions about flavours and it’s always a nice surprise when you notice something you weren’t expecting.


Whisky: Oak Cross Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, 43%

Nose: Vanilla, butterscotch, floral, toast, honey, cloves

Taste: Barley sugar, malt, honey, poached pear, lemon tart, melon, pepper

Finish: Honey, pepper and tea

Score: 3.5

Summary: This has a nice malt character to it.  There are also some lively elements of citrus and spice.  Then there is a flora element that is present on the nose and in the background on the taste.  The Brora/Clyneslish influence shows in this and to great affect.  A drop of water and time helps open this up as the flavours are quite concentrated to begin with. The Oak Cross is priced at around £45 and is quite tempting at that price even though you can get good quality single malts at that price.  This shows that blends can compete with single malts.


Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


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