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Issue 83 - Whisky Alchemy

Whisky Magazine Issue 83
October 2009


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Whisky Alchemy

Our man meets the brains behind one of the most innovative whisky companies out there.

On the face of it Compass Box's offices in the bustling sprawl of Gunnersbury, west London is as far removed from Scotland's distilleries as you can get.

Scratch beneath the surface, though, and whisky's very much at home here.

Just down the road and nestling in a side street in Hammersmith are the headquarters of Chivas Brothers. Michael Jackson lived and worked just a stone's throw away, and Park Royal, where Diageo have recamped, is a short drive.

This is the business end of Scotch whisky and with Heathrow Airport close by, it is a gateway to the rest of the world. You suspect Compass Box founder John Glaser wouldn't have it any other way. Pagoda-free it may be but for him whisky isn't about buildings, it's about the liquid, and about creating whisky alchemy. Compass Box is all about taking high quality spirit, mixing it and turning it in to something different and even better. Gunnersbury's as good a place as anywhere to do it.

Compass Box was formed at the turn of the Millennium and is a new Millennium company. Now about to enter their second decade, Glaser and his team have succeeded in taking whisky in a whole new direction, evolving flavours into challenging and new areas. They have tested the boundaries of whisky making and prodded at the industry's rules. Some people didn't get it, some tried to stop it. But throughout Compass Box has stayed true to its fundamental principles of never cutting corners or compromising on quality.

“It's incredible to think we're...

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