Inspired by René Magritte’s famous painting 1929 The Treachery of Images (featured below), Scotland’s leading independent Whiskymaker and five-time Innovator of the Year, Compass Box, today releases ‘This is not a luxury whisky’ – a Limited Edition Blended Malt Scotch.
Bottled at natural cask strength of 53.1% ABV, ‘This is not a luxury whisky’ will be available across Europe from 1st October 2015 at a suggested retail price of
£150 and in the US from 1st November at $225.
Elaborating on the thinking behind the highly unusual cask strength Limited Edition, Compass Box founder and Whiskymaker, John Glaser tells BourbonBlog.com:
“The idea with this bottling is to challenge people’s perceptions about what represents a ‘luxury’ whisky – or, put another way, a whisky worth paying a lot of money for.”
Over recent years, we’ve seen a growing trend in the Scotch industry towards super-premium releases that position Scotch whiskies as ‘luxury goods’ or
status symbols to be displayed and traded – rather than as liquids to be consumed and enjoyed. As Whiskymakers, we wanted to release a product that
would encourage people to question what it is that makes a luxury whisky a ‘luxury.’
Glaser goes on to describe how the whisky was inspired by Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte’s 1929 concept piece: Treachery of Images which reads “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.“, French for “This is not a pipe.”
“Similar to what Magritte did with his painting of a pipe that claimed it was not a pipe, we wanted to see what would happen if we put a rare, old, expensive liquid in an explicitly ‘non-luxury’ container. Would it diminish the whisky in any way? Would the liquid inside be seen as less desirable simply because of what was written on the front label?
Or would the true measure of the whisky prove to be the amber liquid inside? That’s what we hope to get people thinking about with this release.”
Compass Box offers detailed sourcing information, which reveals that four parcels of whisky were used to create ‘This is not a luxury whisky’. 19 year old malt whisky distilled at the Glen Ord distillery was blended with two separate parcels of 40 year old grain distilled at Girvan and Strathclyde as well as a portion of 30 year-old Caol Ila. Recounting the thinking behind the exact blend,Glaser explains:
“As Whiskymakers, when we say ‘luxury’ what we’re talking about is the liquid, the flavour, the experience of enjoying the whisky. Late last year we came across a parcel of astoundingly good Glen Ord casks: sherry butts, distilled almost twenty years ago. We fell in love with them immediately, secured every cask available in the parcel, then set to work blending them with other whiskies to help us create something even more compelling.
After months of development, the resulting blend was opulent, lingering, complex – and we’ve bottled it at natural cask strength so people can experience the full concentration of the whisky’s flavours. Everyone’s definition of luxury is different, but for us – as Whiskymakers – this is about as close as it gets.”