Whisky Review: Compass Box Hedonism Felicitas

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Compass Box. This in no way, per our editorial policiesinfluenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

After leaving a wine career and a stint at Diageo, John Glaser shook up the scotch industry. In October of 2000, he formed Compass Box in his kitchen. Concerned with creating excellent whiskies through innovative means, Glaser made his first scotch a knockout. Aptly named Hedonism, the whisky paved the path for Compass Box’s success. 

One of Compass Box’s core beliefs is that good whisky does not have to have an age statement. Secondly, they see blending as a platform for creativity. In fact, Glaser made Hedonism with all blended grain whisky. While this is rare to see, it is not completely unheard of. So just what is blended grain whisky? It is one of the five scotch whisky categories. Furthermore, it means that the blend comprises of single grain barrels from different distilleries.

To mark Hedonism’s recent twentieth anniversary and milestone lead whisky maker, James Saxon, revealed the Hedonism Felicitas. Hedonism means the pursuit of pleasure, where Felicitas stands for luck or good fortune. The Compass Box Hedonism Felicitas basically represents the pursuit of pleasure and fortune, which perfectly sums up Compass Box’s role in the world of scotch whisky. 

The Hedonism Felicitas is still a blended grain whisky. A large portion of the whisky was distilled in 2001 at Port Dundas, and it was matured using refill sherry butts. North British distillery provided whisky distilled in the 1990s and aged in re-charred American oak. The last whisky distilled in the 1980s and aged in first-fill bourbon barrels comes from Strathclyde distillery. 

Compass Box Hedonism Felicitas

Compass Box Hedonism Felicitas (image via Compass Box)

Tasting Notes: Compass Box Hedonism Felicitas 

Vital Stats: 53% ABV. Blended grain scotch whisky from Port Dundas, North British, and Strathclyde distilleries. A limited edition of 2,226 bottles produced. 750ml $175.

Appearance: Fino sherry

Nose: At first, it reminds me of a sour mash. However, this transitions into lemongrass. It is a spiced fruit medley with raisin, dried plum, and nutmeg. The middle gives way to freshly packed tobacco into a pipe. Near the end, the whisky seems to get sweeter and lighter. I pick up on apple blossom and mint mixed with cane sugar. 

Palate: I immediately notice spicy dried wood. Next up, lemon peel mingles with a small amount of acetone. The middle reveals crusted sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg reminiscent of a churro. Toward the end of the dram is hazelnut and toffee. Cocoa lingers on the finish. 

The Takeaway

Summary

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Hedonism itself is one of my favourites from Compass Box. The Felicitas edition was just incredible. It was full of aroma and flavor that worked together rather than compete. If you can find yourself one of the 2,226 bottles made, pick it up. I highly recommend it, and $175 for a limited edition won't necessarily break the bank.

4.5
User Rating 2.13 (8 votes)
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