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John Glaser Steps Back From Compass Box

John Glaser, founder of Compass Box. Image via Whisky Auctioneer.

John Glaser, founder of Compass Box, has announced his departure from the company after a remarkable 23-year tenure. Glaser, who launched Compass Box in 2000, has prided himself on his innovative approach to blending. He will step down from his executive role in May but will remain a shareholder in the company.

Glaser’s decision to leave Compass Box marks the end of an era for the Scotch whisky blending house. “After an extraordinary 23-year journey, I’ve made the decision to step away from Compass Box,” Glaser stated. “As I embark on this new chapter, please know that my love for the Compass Box brand goes beyond reason. I will continue to champion and support Compass Box as a devoted fan, advocate, and shareholder. I am confident that the brand will continue to flourish and evolve.”

Over the years, Compass Box has gained recognition for its unique approach to scotch whisky blending, including transparency about the makeup of the blends. 

Compass Box’s Unique Approach To Blending 

John Glaser and Compass Box have long been champions of clarity when it comes to the components that make up blends. 

Compass Box has previously stated the names of the distillery malts included in their blends, the percentages used, the cask types, and the age of each whisky in the blend. Such transparency meant that Compass Box was in violation of the EU Regulation 12.3 of the Spirits Drinks Regulation No. 110/2008. This legislation states that the only age referenced on a bottle of whisky should be the age of the youngest spirit in the blend. 

Hedonism is one of the brand’s most famous bottlings.

Compass Box, of course, had no choice but to amend its packaging. However, Glaser has been vocal in his belief that consumers are entitled to know exactly what goes into the whisky that they drink. Glaser said, “[w]e believe Scotch producers should have the freedom, but not the obligation, to disclose all of the components of a blend. Consumers have the right to know”.

This approach has seen Compass Box get into hot water with the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). However, Compass Box fans have praised the brand’s refreshing blending strategy. 

Other blending companies have since followed suit, in an attempt to challenge the norms and legislation that governs how whisky blends can be marketed. 

Nearly two years prior to John Glaser’s exit, Compass Box underwent significant changes in its ownership and leadership. The majority stake was acquired by London’s Caelum Capital. Concurrently, Maurice Doyle, a former executive at Bacardi, took over the reins as the CEO of the company.

John Glaser Leaves A Lasting Legacy 

Doyle expressed his gratitude towards Glaser for his “vision, creativity, and commitment”, which have played pivotal roles in shaping the brand’s identity. “It’s a testament to John’s legacy and to our talented team that Compass Box continues to go from strength to strength,” said Doyle.

Dr Alan Rutherford, chairman of Compass Box, also conveyed his “heartfelt appreciation to John for his exemplary leadership and dedication” during his time at the company.

About Compass Box 

Compass Box, a renowned Scotch whisky maker, was founded in the year 2000 by American entrepreneur John Glaser, who formerly held the position of marketing director at Johnnie Walker. 

Originally starting operations from his kitchen, the company has grown significantly over the years. It now operates two dedicated Blending Rooms located in London and houses its own stocks of maturing whisky. 

Compass Box’s headquarters is situated in Richmond. The company has always maintained a unique approach to producing whisky, largely due to Glaser’s ingenuity. Its first commercial release was the blended grain Hedonism.

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