January 16, 2007

Oak Cross Scotch Whisky Review

Oak Cross Scotch WhiskyCompass Box Oak Cross
Malt Scotch Whisky
Imported from Scotland by WyattZier
86 Proof (43% ABV)
Typical Price: About $50 for 750ml
Website

We really and truly have dug all of the Compass Box whiskies we've tried, from the Asyla right down to the Peat Monster. We typically find them to be extremely tasty, and the company doesn't fall into the hoity toity view a lot of people have about Scotch. They seem down to earth, they make a good product, and they like to experiment - how can you go wrong?

Their latest creation we've had a chance to try is Oak Cross, so named because the barrels it's aged in are a cross between American and French oaks. Was the effort of marrying American and French worth it? We think so. Read on to find out why.

The Look:
The Oak Cross bottle itself fits in well with the rest of the Compass Box line, in a tall, slender clear glass bottle. The logo looks like a stylized Celtic Knot of some kind, which stirred up our Highland blood a bit when we saw it. The Scotch itself had a light amber color.

The Nose:
Our first thought when we took a whiff of Oak Cross was that it smelled more Irish than Scotch, and we mean that in a good way. Gone were the thick peatiness and slightly acrid tang we associate with Scotch - instead we smelled fruit and cloves and...could it be...vanilla? Yup, there it was, right on the label, vanilla. The vanilla was attributed to the American bourbon casks it was aged in, and we welcomed it.

The Taste:
We'll come right out and say we're much bigger Bourbon drinkers than we are Scotch-heads, so we liked the smooth, vanilla and dried fruit taste of Oak Cross. If you're looking peat you're in the wrong place - this unlikely collaboration between America and France is on the sweeter side, though we're not talking liqueur sweet. Overall the taste was complex without being overwhelming, and we see this as a Scotch that could win over non-Scotch-drinkers. While Oak Cross would make for some great cocktails we liked it best sipped with just a splash of cold water.

The Verdict:
Sometimes the unexpected is good, and we definitely didn't expect to find a Scotch that appealed to the Bourbon drinker in us. We motored through our review bottle in record time because we thought it was just that good. Compass Box has shown us once again they can make Scotch for the drink's enthusiasts as well as those who aren't quite as sure as well.

It's a good value for the price, and you can show off how knowledgeable you are about oak by talking about the bourbon barrels and the oak heads. You'll either impress your friends or bore the hell out of 'em, but at least you'll be drinking a damn fine Scotch.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at January 16, 2007 6:50 AM
Recent Comments

Agree with the review.

I like Scotch, but find many/most to be too-"peaty" or just plain harsh. NOT OAK CROSS...Oak Cross is smooth & delicious, with complex notes including vanilla, which make it an interesting drink. It's definitely Scotch - just not harsh.


Posted by: Chris at October 14, 2010 1:37 PM

This is the one scotch you can recommend to practically everyone. In the boldest move ever in the vatted malt, pure 100 percent malt scotch revolution. Compass box has done it's homework in consumer research and now has Oak Cross to show for it. This is the biggest, friendliest rendition of scotch I've ever come across. It accomodates the widest range of liquor appreciators in terms of smoothness, taste, and quality. Here goes. It is like Santa Claus and his entire crew on spring break vacation in the tropics (ie.Cancun, Mexico). But for the rest of us our holiday season was months ago. And don't forget Mrs.Claus.


Posted by: Scooterboy at May 29, 2009 7:03 PM

This is the one scotch you can recommend to practically everyone. In the boldest move ever in the vatted malt, pure 100 percent malt scotch revolution. Compass box has done it's homework in consumer research and now has Oak Cross to show for it. This is the biggest, friendliest rendition of scotch I've ever come across. It accomodates the widest range of liquor appreciators in terms of smoothness, taste, and quality. Here goes. It is like Santa Claus and his entire crew on spring break vacation in the tropics (ie.Cancun, Mexico). But for the rest of us our holiday season was months ago. And don't forget Mrs.Claus.


Posted by: Scooterboy at May 29, 2009 7:01 PM
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