Whisky Review – Compass Box – The General

Compass Box – The General
Many years old blend
Non-Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
53.4% ABV
£179.95 from MasterOfMalt
1,693 bottles produced.

The General is a very old blended Whisky from Compass Box. Made up from 2 parcels of Whisky, one aged 33, and another one of mystery, but many presumptions are that it is in excess of 40.

Official Info:
It’s been a good year for sourcing ridiculously rare parcels of extraordinary whisky. The provenance of these two parcels, blended together at a young age and then put back into cask for many years, was not important. They had matured into something extraordinary in flavour and were beautifully complementary. The result, bottled at cask strength, boasts an ‘antique’ character that lovers of old whiskies seek out. The associations of The General, however, are more akin to that of Buster Keaton’s classic 1926 film of the same name where the General is an old steam locomotive which Keaton takes on a long and wild ride to try to save the love of his life. Only 1,698 bottles of this whisky have been produced.


Layered laminated complexity. It’s got some of everything which each sniff differing from the next. One sniff it’s thick rich sherried dark fruits and lush Christmas cake, the next it’s armchairs, dusty libraries, heavily polished and waxed oak. Of the fruit variety we have stewed bananas, plump alcohol infused raisins. Heavy Vanilla pod influences are then in the front, with some cinnamon and light pepper. Back to the fruitcake, cake mix with generous rich alcohol added. The oak is back, with a little more sawdust this time, but still glistening with the wax polish, and the tiniest wood char. More leather and now cigar tobacco. Back to Rum and plum and so on and so on. This is one which I could spend all night with my nose in! Bit more time, now vanilla domination, with toasted almonds. I probably need to stop with the nosing now or I’ll never taste anything tonight.


Sweet and sour and sweet again. The rum and raisins come with warm cake mix. Then the age shows through, with the polished clean oak tones fulfilling the palate. Vanilla and light pepper spices are throughout. There is a little warmth to the ABV, but held on the tongue past that and the treats keep on coming, waves of oak and fruit and spices which seem to change as your rolling it around the mouth. The richness of this dram is hard to explain, so I will just say it’s very rich! Fattening even.


Long, sweet, sherried then dry, oak, sawdust, polish, oak, some sweet and dry sherry returns, then fruit and vanilla returns at the very end.

Adding water.

The tiniest drop added, mainly due to having most of the sample undiluted, so not much room to experiment. It’s one that is awesome out the bottle. Diluted the nose has more outgoing power. The main flavour profiles of the undisputed nose are still there with the addition of quite a floral element, some lighter sugars, and sweetie shop notes. The palate has a little more wood sour notes, with the fruitiness taking quite the back seat, time in the tongue passes over these new additions and the oak and fruit shine through once again. The finish has now more oak tannins, some stewed tea, concentrating less again on the fruit that once was there. Personally a dram to revel in, in it’s undiluted form


An intense, concentrating experience. I can spend a lot of time with this dram, it’s complexities are many, very deep and enticing to fathom. I will be spending more time with this dram sometime very soon. One for kicking back and exploring casually when you have a bunch of me time.

Massive thanks go out to Compass Box for providing the sample. Awesome.



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