Saturday, December 6, 2014

Compass Box Canto Cask 35

The Canto Cask range was apparently borne out of John Glaser's work on Oak Cross, with the 16 different "Cantos" being those experimental barrels that were not chosen for the final Oak Cross product. They were all re-fill American oak casks that had been re-fitted with new French or new American oak heads toasted to varying degrees. They all contained the same original blend of malts - Clynelish, Teaninich and Dailuaine. You can read all about it here.

All of these were bottled in 2007, and although it doesn't mention it anywhere on the bottle, according to the link above the final malt blend is apparently 13 years old. Compass Box gave a different cask to each of their importers/distributors around the world. This Canto was bottled for Maurizio Cagnolati of Arnolfini in Italy, and had new American oak heads that were toasted to a level of 5 (on a scale of ten).

Compass Box Canto Cask 35, 54.4% 

Nose: Pretty aggressive. Salt, sherry spices - cloves mainly - toffee, caramel and vanilla all assault the nose, as well as a hint of some wood-derived herbal tannins. As the glass empties stonefruit emerges in the form of ripe peach and nectarine. With water there's still salt, caramel and spices, but the peaches come through a little earlier.

Palate: Quite a thick and viscous mouthfeel, full of salt, caramel, wax and something green and herbal, like thyme or za'atar maybe.  Hot and sweet. As with the nose, there's a load of sherry spices, this time accompanied by some aniseed, perhaps, too. Time in the glass again ushers in the arrival of some stonefruit. With water, it loses none of its luscious mouth-coating feel and feels slightly broader and, naturally, not so hot.

Finish: Salty, spicy and sweet. Big finish, with waves of flavour rolling in. Some wood bitterness at the tail too. If anything, water releases a touch more fruit and lengthens it even further, extending the salt and the sweetness. It's really grippy actually, and feels like I'll still be tasting it tomorrow.

Wow, interesting booze this. I really like it, though I imagine it's not going to be for everyone. It's pretty huge, with the wood imparting loads of flavour, but man, is it delicious.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not enjoying this as much tonight. I'm getting more wood bitterness and less fruit with water.