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Scotch Whisky Legends: Compass Box Flaming Heart (4th Release)

Despite being a relatively young company, having been established in 2000 by John Glaser (former marketing director at Johnnie Walker), Compass Box has truly made a name for itself in the whisky industry.

The company prides itself on transparency regarding the component whiskies in its blends. However, this open approach has previously landed Compass Box in some hot water with the Scotch Whisky Association.

Compass Box fans have remained steadfastly supportive of the company’s approach, and appreciative of the incredible whiskies that it produces. One such whisky, a blend that was awarded 91 points by Serge Valentin at WhiskyFun, is the Flaming Heart.

Catch up on the previous installments of Scotch Whisky Legends here.

Compass Box Flaming Heart

Ironically, Flaming Heart was one of the whiskies that got Compass Box into the aforementioned hot water. However, it seems as if the trouble was worth it; Flaming Heart 4th Edition is beloved by one of the most prolific whisky reviewers in the industry: Serge Valentin.

The blend consists of whisky from the following distilleries:

  • Clynelish
  • Laphroaig
  • Ardmore
  • Ledaig
  • Dailuaine
  • Teaninich

You can read the full recipe on WhiskyBase.

The whisky was matured in a combination of heavily toasted French oak and American ex-Bourbon casks and bottled in 2012 at 48.9% ABV.

Serge Valentin’s Tasting Notes On The Compass Box Flaming Heart 4th Edition

Compass Box creates delectable blended scotch whisky. Credit: Compass Box

Serge Valentin tasted the Flaming Heart 4th Edition in September 2012, and sang the praises of this young whisky:

“To be honest, I had already adored some previous versions, such as the ‘2nd release’ from 2007 (WF 90). Colour: dark straw. Nose: impeccable start, on a rather more refined peat than elsewhere (I mean in youngish single malts) and touches of agave and cane juice on top of an elegant Laphroaigness. Beeswax and seawater, antiseptic and overripe apples, bandages and damp clay, Japanese green tea and linseed oil. Then fresh mint, lime, oysters and just touches of diesel oil. Lovely lovely lovely. 

Mouth: the first thing I like here is the strength. Sounds odd, I know, but these 48.9% work extremely well, it’s nervous and big but approachable and, well, drinkable. Other than that, it’s a superb combination of pink grapefruits, shellfish, olive brine, marzipan, lemon, touches of fresh coriander, lemon balm, some kind of waxy citrons and plain green olives. Passion fruits, cough syrup, liquorice… It’s very smoky too. 

Finish: great as well because it remains elegant, zesty, even kind of ethereal despite all the oomph. Leaves your mouth a fresh as a baby’s! Comments: no, really, this is truly excellent. The bottle’s lovely too, it’ll be hard to throw it away once it’s empty (which will happen fast). Potential lamp stands? Nah, too narrow… SGP:446 – 91 points. (Didn’t I just score a fairly young vatting above 90?)” – Serge Valentin,, 2012 

As Serge himself points out, this is an incredible score for such a young blend. Compass Box continues to produce some fantastic whiskies, with drinkers at the forefront.

The Price of The Compass Box Flaming Heart 4th Edition

The Compass Box Flaming Heart 4th Edition is extremely affordable in comparison to many of the whiskies on WhiskyFun’s Winners List. Since January 2023 the bottle has been averaging between £160-£240 at auction. As there have been additional versions released, the 4th edition can be difficult to find at retail.

Keep an eye on Compass Box’s website for more incredible releases.

Buy Compass Box Whisky

Compass Box Whisky & Ink is available to purchase via The Whiskey Wash Shop for $5,769.


Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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