June 15, 2006

Compass Box Asyla Scotch Review

Compass Box Asyla
Blended Grain and Malt Scotch Whisky
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typical Price: About $40 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Compass Box Website

Asyla WhiskyThere are a lot of Scotch drinkers out there who scoff at blended scotches. We're not sure why - just like anything else, there are good blends and bad blends out there. We've tried our share of both, and our latest acquisition is called "Asyla" by Compass Box.

We were initially surprised by the packaging, which had a much hipper look to it than the stodginess you can expect from many scotches - in fact, it reminded us more of a wine label. Not that it matters that most scotch bottles look like they were designed to appeal to your grandpa, but it still caught us off guard. It's not the bottle, it's the contents, right? Well, we can say we know our way around a scotch bottle, and Asyla is probably the best blend we've ever tasted.

[Editor's Note: The following review is full of more drooling and fawning than we generally allow ourselves in our reviews - bear with us...we like the stuff.]

The Color: This is the lightest whisky we can recall seeing - it's a light amber that reminds us of gold and honey.

The Nose: It was a case of love at first whiff for us - the softness of vanilla, the sweetness of fruit, a waft of oak. The smell was light and rich at the same time, complex but not overpowering. We were salivating before we even got it in the glass.

The Taste: It's moments like this that make us happy to be liquor reviewers. Delicate and dry, Asyla was sweet without overdoing it. We detected vanilla and honey and fruit on our tongue when we sipped, and the finish was spicy and quick. We also realized we didn't grimace when we swallowed, which is kind of our habit when we drink scotch.

We took another sip and realized this was scotch we could drink in gulps if necessary, a purely drinkable and agreeably tasty spirit. Most people think scotch is something to put up on a pedestal, to overthink, to appreciate and covet - this particular scotch is one to drink and enjoy. Nothing wrong with that.

The Verdict:This is a great scotch for people who don't think they like scotch. It's not whisky with training wheels, because it can definitely be enjoyed by scotch lovers as well. It's competely accessible and enviably tasty, from sweet start to classy finish, we plan to keep a bottle of Asyla on the premises at all times. If you're going to introduce someone to scotch via Asyla, keep in mind this interesting note we found on their site, which we never thought of. Of course, that's why they're the experts...

And please, don’t try to get new people into whisky by giving them a glass of neat whisky. Let’s face it, 40% spirit HURTS the tongue! (And spirit that is more than 40% alcohol hurts even more!) Some of us grow accustomed to this "pain", but it can be tough going on the uninitiated. People accustomed to drinking just beer and wine don’t ever encounter pain when they drink their drinks because the alcohol levels of those drinks are below the pain threshold of the tongue. So offer whisky to these people cut with water-I recommend about half and half, whisky to water, to start them out. Good whiskies will maintain their core flavour characteristics at this strength, and it doesn’t hurt your mouth!
Just remember not to use your chlorinated tap water - get your hands on some filtered or bottled water to add to your drinks, which is a good idea for any drink you add water to.

Head on over to CompassBoxWhisky.com to learn more about our new favorite whisky, and find out where you can pick up a bottle for yourself.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at June 15, 2006 6:16 AM
Recent Comments

Asyla is some awesome stuff - As are all the whiskies that Compass Box does.
This one is light, delicate, tasty.
Try it ice cold (don't add ice - put the bottle in the freezer).


Posted by: Kevin Erskine at June 15, 2006 7:46 AM
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