Maker: Compass Box, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Style: Blended malt in American oak with toasted French oak barrel heads (see here for more information: http://www.compassboxwhisky.com/pdf/TheSpiceTree.pdf)
Region: Northern Highlands
Note: Not colored or chill-filtered.
Michigan state minimum: $62
Appearance: Medium gold with long thin legs
Nose: Sweet malt, vanilla, nutmeg, pinch of ginger.
Palate: Soft with a hint of spice. Custard, cassia, allspice, mace, ginger, clove.
Finish: Spice followed by a hit of vanilla fading into alcohol heat.
Parting words: The original edition of Spice Tree was aged with French oak barrel inserts. The Scotch Whisky Association threatened legal action against Compass Box because of this process. Compass Box decided not to fight the SWA and changed their process to one utilizing French oak barrel heads instead of the inserts.
I never got a chance to taste the old controversial version but this one is very good. I enjoy the Northern Highland whiskies very much on their own and the French oak process has nicely enhanced the spicy flavors of these malts. One would also be hard pressed to get a malt from any of those distilleries at this price that tastes this good. Spice Tree is recommended.