Yesterday, Compass Box released a new limited edition Scotch whisky blend in collaboration with Mike Miller, the owner of Chicago's famous punk bar, Delilah's. The Delilah's blend was created in honor of the bar's 20th anniversary, and will be available nationwide starting September 1st.
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Until the 1800s, there was very little Scotch available for sale in cities such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, let alone London or New York. Scotch, at the time, was considered the equivalent of moonshine—a drink enjoyed by unrefined highlanders, aged in sheep bladders and filtered through tartan. No one of refinement drank the stuff; instead, urban elites enjoyed the finest European wines, along with sherry, port, and cognac. A number of factors converged in the latter half of the 19th century to change everything.
Instantly recognizable from Kathmandu to Khartoum, the walking man on a bottle of whisky is seen as an international symbol of taste and quality. And for good reason—Johnnie Walker is the world's best selling blended Scotch whisky. Not content to rest on their laurels at the top of the booze chain, the folks at Johnnie Walker have been testing the market for what they describe as a pumped-up Black Label.
While single malt scotches and single barrel bourbons dominate the dreams of most high-end whiskey drinkers, the vast majority of sales in the wide world of whiskey (and whisky) are of the humble blend. Taking its name from its ingredients—usually high quality straight or single malt whiskeys cut with grain alcohol—blends are typically less complex and therefore less 'interesting' than their big league brethren. You're probably familiar with some of the more popular suspects, such as Johnny Walker, Jameson, or the Famous Grouse. Blends vary widely in quality, but are typically held in somewhat low regard by the liquor cognoscenti. However, Compass Box Whisky aims to change all that.
For fortification, the Mamie Taylor relies on blended scotch, but while this dark spirit can evoke the cooler months, fresh lime juice lightens the spirit's ponderous demeanor, and a spicy ginger ale or ginger beer places it firmly in summer-cooler territory.