Booze Review

Whisky Review – Compass Box Asyla

While browsing Compass Box’s online whisky shop, I noticed the sampler set that you see in the above photo. This set includes five of their core expressions, presented in a black lacquered, clamshell box, and also comes with a tasting notes brochure. Although this sampler set was love at first sight, I was unwilling to part with the online price of $60+. But then about about two weeks ago, while shopping for a house warming present at Wine Works in Marlton, NJ, I noticed that they were selling this set for $40. All I can say is, “SOLD!“.

$40 for 250ML may seem expensive, but when you consider the cost of sampling these whiskies at a bar, this is an absolute bargain. Here is what a dram of these whiskies would cost at The Cooperage in Center City Philadelphia:

  • Asyla: $14
  • Oak Cross: $14
  • Peat Monster: $20
  • Spice Tree: $20
  • Hedonism: $20
  • TOTAL COST: $88
See what I mean? BARGAIN! How could I possibly walk away from such a deal???

Let’s get on with the first review from this sampler set, the Compass Box Asyla.

Here is what Compass Box has to say about their Asyla expression:

The ultimate “everyday,” “before dinner” or “Sunday afternoon” Scotch whisky. With just a splash of chilled water, this blend of soft, sweet grain whiskies and elegant, refined malt whiskies epitomises “deliciousness” in the world of Scotch whisky.

And here are my impressions of this whisky…

  • Appearance: Pale golden yellow.
  • Aroma: Very light and fragrant. Green apple. Cut grass. Peppermint. Light corn syrup. A hint of menthol. It’s like aromatherapy in a glass with all of those soothing scents going on.
  • Taste: Thin and watery mouthfeel. Coats your tongue with soft and somewhat peppery flavors. The black pepper intensifies at mid-palate as it starts to warm your mouth, but it never overwhelms. Somewhat short finish with more of that mild pepperiness, followed immediately by lighter herbal notes. Very clean and refreshing aftertaste.
  • ABV: 40%

The Asyla is a much lighter bodied whisky than I normally drink. Although I usually drink my whisky neat and at room temperature, I can completely see myself enjoying this whisky the Compass Box way, i.e. they recommend having this whisky as an “an aperitif served in a white wine or similar glass with chilled water to taste”.  Their Asyla is exceptionally smooth, well balanced, and very easy drinking. This would be a great warm weather dram, and it would be a perfect whisky for the infamous Limpd Whisky Water Libation ™. Overall, a very good whisky!

22 replies »

    • I like em smoky, so the Peat Monster is right up my alley. Looking forward to writing it up. But that’s a preference, not a judgement. I’d say the Asyla is as good as the Chivas 12 that I reviewed recently. A well crafted blend for sure.


    • Answering the question as you phrased it would be the equivalent of saying, “You know, that Limpd is ok for an Irish guy.” I’d say it was very good for any whisk(e)y. Much lighter than what I usually drink, but a delicious libation nonetheless. The Wookie had a bottle of this awhile ago.


  1. I love that you jumped into your box already! I don’t know why I’ve hesitated on opening mine … perhaps because it’s just so nice to look at. Great review – love the detail in the tasting notes.


    • Thanks WW! I couldn’t resist getting started on these whiskies. I think the fact that they come in test tubes screams “For Research Purposes Only”. I say crack ’em open! I’m curious to hear how our notes compare.


    • Ever since I read of your purchase of this set I’ve had my eye out for a decently priced option for buying it. Not being a huge fan of scotch (yet) options like this are my best way to jump in. Also, i just can’t seem to stop buying bourbons ;).



      • Once the price dropped to $40, I just couldn’t resist buying it. And the packaging was also a draw. The test tubes and clamshell box will definitely be repurposed!


  2. I’m glad to hear that the Asyla is as good as I’ve read elsewhere: I was thinking of getting the Compass Box taster set to provide material for reviews for my new whisky blog. Looks like it may well be a sound idea! It’s refreshing to see a company trying an alternative approach to promoting whisky drinking.


    • Yo Josh!

      At $40 for five very unique expressions, I thought it was a great deal. I have also seen similar sampler packs by Glenmorangle, The Balvenie, and The Glenrothes. Although I prefer to buy a full bottle for multiple tastings (sometimes it takes a few tries to really get to know a whisky), the samplers are a great way to get some variety without breaking the bank.

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. Let us know when your blog is up and running.



  3. Very nice write-up G-Lo, as usual. You mentioning that it is on the lighter side (for scotch I’m guessing) makes this something I would like to try. For me, scotch either tends to be too smokey or too briney, and therefore too harsh, so the lighter tasting notes interest me a bit. I’ve got to find this set somewhere local so I can make up my own mind. Keep it up!



    • Nothing wrong with having a preference. Scotch can take awhile to get used to. At least you (a) keep an open mind, and (b) are willing to take a chance. It’s kind of like how I felt about IPAs and Imperial Stouts a few years ago, i.e. I thought they were a bit overwhelming at first, but once I tried a couple that really engaged my taste buds, I was hooked and am now trying as many different ones as I can.


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