Monday, December 9, 2019

Whisky Review: Compass Box Asyla

Asyla was one of Compass Box's first blends, holding down the bottom end of their range. When it was introduced in 2001, a budget blend with a relatively high proportion of malt whisky was still a novelty.

From what I can find, this whisky was composed from 50% Cameronbridge grain whisky, 5% Glen Elgin malt, 23% Teaninich malt, and 22% Linkwood malt (though this may have changed later in its life), then bottled at 40% without coloring or chill filtration.

I purchased this sample from Dramtime.

Compass Box Asyla

Nose: very aromatic, even from a distance - strong dusty floral notes, graham crackers, vague under- and over-ripe fruit, balanced grain and malt, gentle American oak, orange peel. After adding a few drops of water it shifts towards the grain, tamping down some of the other elements.

Taste: fairly strong grain sweetness up front, creamy vanilla and floral/vegetal notes in the middle, then a gentle malty slide into the finish. After dilution it becomes rounder and creamier throughout, though a touch of grainy bitterness emerges at the back.

Finish: alcohol heat, dry grain and malt, pretty vague in general

Overall I think this does what it set out to do - provide an affordable blend that isn't wholly lacking in character. There aren't lots of new facets to be found by concentrating on it, this is a whisky meant to be drunk without bringing a lot of attention to itself.

While Asyla has been discontinued, nominally because of a lack of aged stock necessary for its construction, it's also a little hard for me to see that as a great loss. While they're not identical, Great King Street Artist's Blend accomplishes more or less the same task at a comparable price. They each emphasize slightly different aspects of the general profile, but if you like one it seems unlikely that you'll dislike the other. Additionally, Oak Cross is also still available for only a little bit more, taking the profile and amplifying it by removing the grain whisky component. Either way, I'm not going to mourn the disappearance of Asyla. It served its purpose.

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