Compass box WhiskyI was walking along the Chiswick High Road on Sunday and darted into the Wimbledon Wine Cellar, a really good fine wine shop with helpful staff and a few outlets spotted about London (Flagship store in Wimbledon strangely!).  We’d been invited to our neighbours for a Christmas drink and I thought I’d see if there was something unusual I could take over for fun.  I queried the girl at the counter for a suggestion and was promptly escorted to the back of store and introduced to a very helpful Gregg Glass from Compass Box Whisky Company (  Before us stood five bottles making up the Compass Box range and I readily accepted the invitation to taste them.

I personally struggle with very peaty whisky but it does still intrigue me.  I was pleased that we started with the very subtle Asyla Whisky, a blend of malt and grain whisky.  This is, Gregg pointed out, very unusual as there are not many producers blending grain and malt - we’re more familiar with the blending of different casks.  As a non whisky drinker I found this a really accessible whisky to start with.  It had a pleasant fruity sweetness and a complexity gained from being made from 10 and 12 year old whiskies.

As we moved through the range the intensity of the smokiness and peaty characteristics started to get stronger.  As I said before, I am intrigued by the power in these drinks but have to limit my intake.  The Peat Monster was delicious and packing the style of overt punch and peatiness emanating from the high quality Islay single malt, an Islay South Shore malt and a peated Speyside malt, all aged in American casks.  It is worth ordering a bottle of this to taste with friends for fun - it is a great experience.  Tasting it next to something milder or that has been aged in different casks is a great way to remember the differences between them.

The last whisky I tasted which I loved was called ‘The Last Vatted Malt’ and not part of the range before us but is about to be released (see the web site for more information).  This was quite special.  It had delicious subtle dried fruits and hints of smokiness but nothing overpowering. It had been aged in 36 year old sherry casks to give it a fully rounded body; definitely has that “just one more glass” factor!

If you’re looking for a whisky experience that will pleasurise and educate your palate then try Compass Box Whisky.  The range suits all tastes and combines really good value and quality.

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COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

Climate change podcast

Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


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