Compass Box Scotch whiskymakers have announced a new limited edition expression, The Circle, No. 2. The Scotch emerged from their global bartender competition and is inspired by synaesthesia. The whisky will be available in the UK from 1st June, with only 3,113 bottles available worldwide.
The Circle program serves to connect the creative processes of the blending room with those of the bar trade, exploring imaginative and unusual ideas and bringing like-minded individuals together to learn, share, and create.
Mannie Monaghan won the competition in 2019, the last time The Circle was able to run. Mannie, owner of the bar, Below Stairs, in Leeds, UK, tapped into synaesthesia, asking the Compass Box whiskymakers, “Is it possible to make a whisky that evokes the colour coral?”.
Synaesthesia refers to a blending of the senses. It can involve hearing shapes, tasting days of the week, or smelling colours and is as varied in its forms and intensities as the people who experience it. As a synaesthete himself, Mannie, was able to bring the full force of his taste buds and personal colour palette to the Compass Box blending rooms, fostering a unique creative process for the whiskymaking team.
Over two lengthy sessions, Mannie joined whiskymaker James Saxon in the Blending Rooms. Not synaesthetic himself, James relied on Mannie to first identify parcels of whisky with coral-like qualities. This was an exciting challenge and great fun, scouring the shelves for samples of whiskies with the intensity and beauty that matched the color in Mannie’s mind.
Gradually a soft and sweet whisky took shape. More than half of the recipe is tropical, pineapple-accented whisky from the Glen Elgin Distillery, while whiskies aged in Sherry casks lend warmth, energy, and a clinging texture. Dashes of a peated whisky, and a little malt whisky further matured in STR wine casks, bring contrast and depth. The Circle, No. 2 was created as an outdoor whisky to be enjoyed with friends, lounging on a lazy afternoon as the sun sets.
Key flavors expressed by the whisky are pineapple and stewed peach alongside vanilla, honey and sultanas soaked in Cognac. Compass Box wanted the label design to reflect the collaborative whiskymaking process and the fusing of the senses, as well as bring to life the luminous beauty of coral.
Bottled at ABV 46%, Compass Box The Circle, No.2 is priced at £130 per 70cl bottle. For more information, head over to the brand’s official website.