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Compass Box - The Art of Blending Whisky

Updated: Mar 6

John Glaser Compass Box

Image by Forbes - John Glaser

Back in 2000, a man named John Glaser revolutionised the world of blended whiskies. As an American living in London and formerly the marketing director for Johnnie Walker, Glaser felt that blended whiskies and blended malts lacked something special. This led him to establish Compass Box, a company that creates creative blended whiskies.

Over the years, John Glaser has pushed the boundaries of how whiskies can be matured, resulting in several disagreements with the Scotch Whisky Association. One such disagreement arose in 2005 when Compass Box released its first bottling of The Spice Tree. The blended malt had undergone a second maturation in a cask with extra French Oak inner staves, which the SWA felt contravened the regulations applied to whisky maturation at the time. In response, the next release was matured in casks with French Oak heads instead of inner staves.

Another disagreement between Glaser and the SWA occurred in 2015, when Compass Box wanted to release a line of fully transparent whiskies, giving consumers exact information on the ages and amounts of whiskies used in their blends. The SWA argued that this was against UK and EU regulations. Compass Box then launched the 'Scotch Whisky Transparency' campaign to encourage the industry to be more open with consumers.

Despite his initial reputation as a rebel, John Glaser has become a respected figure in the blended whisky industry, and his innovations have helped to bring the industry into the 21st century.

Jill Boyd and Alex Saxon Compass Box whisky

Image by Master of Malt/ Compass Box - Jill Boyd & James Saxon

2017 Jill Boyd joined the blending team, followed by James Saxon in 2019. Prior to their arrival, Greg Glass was involved with Compass Box but now works for Whyte & MacKay. In 2023, Jill Boyd exited the role to join Halewood Artisanal Spirits as master blender.


Releases 2000-2023: From Simple Design to Phenomenal Art

It all started with Hedonism. John Glaser set out to create a premium grain whisky, and he succeeded. Though the blend of whiskies has varied from batch to batch, enjoying this blended grain whisky is always a guarantee.

Today, the Compass Box core range includes Oak Cross, The Spice Tree, The Story of the Spaniard, Peat Monster, and the newest addition, Orchard House. The company has also produced several limited editions, some of which were specially made for restaurants and companies with a very limited number of bottles.

In December of 2023, Compass Box announced that they would no longer be producing their first whisky expression and a core range favourite, Hedonism. This decision was made due to the limited supply of old grain whiskies, and as a result, the blended grain will only be available as an annual limited release starting in 2024.

It would be absurd not to mention the incredible labels designed by Stranger & Stranger since 2008. Their artwork ensures that the product's wow factor is consistent from the eye to the mouth.

We will take a look at the Compass Box whiskies by year and see what came out and when. We understand that the information we will provide is incomplete, but to cover the Compass Box whiskies in full would require a book instead of an article. For more detailed information about ratios and tasting notes, please visit

Compass box blended whisky releases 2000 to 2004

Compass box blended whisky releases 2005 to 2006

Compass box blended whisky releases 2007 to 2008

Compass box blended whisky releases 2009 to 2010

Compass box blended whisky releases 2011 to 2012

Compass box blended whisky releases 2013 and 2014

Compass box blended whisky releases 2015

Compass box blended whisky releases 2016

Compass box blended whisky releases 2017

Compass box blended whisky releases 2018

Compass box blended whisky releases 2019

Compass box blended whisky releases 2020

Compass box blended whisky releases 2021

Compass box blended whisky releases 2022

Compass box blended whisky releases 2023

All Images by The Whisky Ardvark/ Compass Box


What's been your favourite Compass Box Whisky? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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