Whisky Maker John Glaser | Compass Box  - Find. Eat. Drink.

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Whisky Pairing + Where To Drink & Shop For Whisky In London

General Information

Compass Box Whisky

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The Pros

- Whisky Maker John Glaser





Based on the recipe originally created by Sam Ross


Serves 1

Glass: Old Fashioned

Ice: Large Cube

Garnish: Candied Ginger


- 2 oz. Great King Street Artist’s Blend

- 0.25 oz. Peat Monster

- 0.75 oz. ginger / honey syrup

- 0.75 oz. fresh lemon juice


1) Combine Great King Street, lemon juice and syrup in a shaker.

2) Fill with ice and shake.

3) Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and float the Peat Monster.

4) To make the ginger / honey syrup, add equal parts honey and water (1/2 cup) in a saucepan and whisk over medium heat until combined. Add about an ounce of peeled, sliced fresh ginger and bring to boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool completely and strain.



Peat Monster Old Fashioned

Recipe courtesy of Compass Box


Serves 1

Glass: Old Fashioned

Ice: Large Cube

Garnish: Orange Zest


- 1.75 oz. Peat Monster

- Dash Angostura Bitters

- Sugar Cube or 1/2 teaspoon loose sugar


1) Add bitters to sugar in an Old Fashioned glass.

2) Muddle sugar thoroughly.

3) Add large ice cube.

4) Add Peat Monster and stir.

5) Garnish with orange zest.



Maime Taylor

Recipe courtesy of Compass Box


Serves 1

Glass: High Ball

Ice: Ice Cubes

Garnish: Lime Zest


- 2 oz. Great King Street Artist’s Blend

- Juice from 1/2 a lime

- 4 oz. ginger beer


1) Squeeze half a lime into a highball glass full of ice.

2) Add whisky and top with a good quality spicy ginger beer.

3) Stir briefly and garnish with a zest of lime.



Cocktail Recipes



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An American in Scotland

Compass Box was launched by John Glaser over thirteen years ago, back when the Scotch whisky business “was in the doldrums.” As John notes, it’s unlikely that with the popularity of Scotch today, even someone with his connections (he previously worked for Diageo) could do what he’s done. He was received in Scotland as someone new doing unusual things, but also someone who was doing interesting things with the national drink.


“In a world where everybody thinks single malt whiskies are the be all and end all of Scotch Whiskey, we are blending and we’ve been doing that for thirteen years.”

The Range

The Compass Box is the signature line of whiskies that are bottled every year in a variety of styles.

The Great King Street is a blended Scotch. The Artist Blend with their answer to Chivas Regal, Dewards and Johnnie Walker.

The Style

“I was going for delicious. If we have a style at all it’s a softness, a sweetness and a richness on the palate that comes from whiskies aged in really good quality wood. Which is sadly not the norm in Scotland today.”

John had come to the realization that as companies emphasized consistency of product and cheaper production, their focus and interest in the actual product diminished. “You wake up 25 years after the hey-day of Scotch shipments in the ‘70s and it’s like ‘Wait, what happened? Everybody’s gone home.’ Most single malts today, not all of them, just became boring.”

They create this deliciousness and richness. John buys aged whiskies from various distilling companies, picking individual casks, blends them and further ages the whisky anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. The future will see change in approach. This past year, they began a campaign to lay down their own stocks using higher quality casks filled by the distilleries.

10th Anniversary

It’s the ten year anniversary of the first Peat Monster bottling. The two anchors are a heavily-peated Islay whisky and a medium-peated whiskey from Speyside. The recipe has evolved from using Caol Isla to Laphroig for the Islay whisky, but Ardmore from Speyside has stayed consistent for its balance it brings to the blend. In celebration of the anniversary, a particular 10th Anniversary blend was released which contains both Caol Isla, Laphroig and the Ardmore. It’s a slightly higher strength and a bigger whisky.

How To Drink

John is not prescriptive when is comes to enjoying whisky. In fact, he’s adamant about drinking it the way you want. When we talked, it was a cold Friday evening in London, “I’m cooking dinner and I’m probably going to drink some with a splash of water.” But then again, in the summer “I’m going to put ice in it.”

Beyond drinking his whiskies solo, bartenders have been embracing his whiskies. “I love that bartenders are taking a really culinary approach to cocktails.”

Mezcal + Blending

It might not be a surprise that someone who loves Scotch, also loves Mezcal. After all, there are a lot of similarities between the two: smoke and a full range of nuances, character and terroir. John is a self-described mezcal freak. He loves Ron Cooper’s Del Maguey line. “What Great King Street is to us, Vida is to Ron Cooper’s brand.”

But what you might not expect is that John has started tinkering with blending Mezcal and Scotch. No specific secrets were shared about exact quantities and bottlings, but he did recommend playing with a blend between 10 - 20% Mezcal to 80 - 90% Scotch.

The Maime Taylor and the Peat Monster Old Fashioned

Photograph courtesy of Compass Box


John recommends trying three cocktails to highlight the expressions of the Compass Box whiskies.

The Penicillin

“When I started the business and created the style of the Peat Monster, the general thinking was that smokey whiskies are really difficult to sue for making cocktails. As the cocktail world has advanced, people have started to figure out really compelling ways to use them. Some people will trace it back to the creation of the Penicillin by Sam Ross in New York about ten  years ago. He successfully made a citrus-based Scotch cocktail, topped with smokey Scotch. It really worked. Buy some ginger syrup, lime and some Great King Street whisky and a little bit of Peat Monster to top it. It’s gorgeous and simple.” [Get The Recipe]

Peat Monster Old Fashioned

“The Peat Monster Old Fashioned is one of my favorite drinks right now. Because of the extra new oak aging that the whisky gets, there’s this lovely richness and sweetness and spice-like characters t that make it ideal for cocktails.” [Get The Recipe]

Maime Taylor

Our Great King Street whisky makes a beautiful cocktail. The Maime Taylor  is not well known, but it’s a classic cocktail that goes back almost a hundred years. It’s basically a Moscow Mule made with Scotch. It’s lime, ginger beer, and Great King Street Artist Blend. The Great King Street is so big and fat, it stands up to that kind of drink. [Get The Recipe]

Pairing Cheese & Scotch

Parmigiano Reggiano

“A really simple, easy match is Parmigiano Reggiano, crumbled up into small and large pieces for people to pick at and pair with just about any Scotch whisky, but something delicate and light, like the Asyla or the Great King Street Artist Blend or the Hedonism. It’s beautiful as a little appetizer -- a bowl of crisps (chips), a bowl of Parmigiano Reggiano with a great whisky and a splash of water. The cheese really echoes and amplifies the flavors of the whisky.”


“Blue vein cheeses with smoky whiskies is another pairing I love. The assertiveness of the blue cheese stands up to the smokiness of the peated malt. Roquefort and Peat Monster is really nice.”

Cheddar + Comté

“We’ve had some good pairings with Spice Tree and Cheddar and Comté. Although cheddars can be so different, from the supermarket orange stuff to the real cheddar.”

Whisky Maker’s London

Find | Places To Buy Whisky

Hedonism Wines

Photograph courtesy of Hedonism Wines

Hedonism Wines

This shop is absolutely ridiculous. It just opened in 2012 and it is the most amazing wine store that I have ever been into in the world. They have whole rooms dedicated to d’Yquem and Sine Qua Non from California. I brought my son in here when I was shopping for Christmas and they have a space set up in the basement with iPads for the kids while you shop. Their spirits buyer, Toby, was given carte blanche. He collects whiskies from auction and has old, hard-to-find stuff and a well stocked selection of the essentials. It is out of this world.

3-7 Davies Street, London W1K 3LD

T: +44.(0)20.7989.0085 | www.hedonism.co.uk

The Whisky Exchange

It’s in Borough Market and they have just about everything. The guys are super knowledgeable.

1 Bank End, London SE1 9BU

T: +44.(0)20.7403.8688 | www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Drink | Bars For Whisky

Meat Liquor

It’s a cool place to drink good whiskies in London without any of the pretentiousness. It’s one of my favorite places at the moment. I love coming here because it is the closest thing to an American dive bar that London has. They have an incredible American whiskey selection and their Scotch selection is not bad either.

74 Welbeck Street, London W1G 0BA

T: +44.(0)20.7224.4239 | www.meatliquor.com

Japanese Whisky at Mizuwari

Photograph courtesy of Mizuwari


A Japanese whisky bar in the basement of Bincho restaurant, a Japanese grill restaurant in Soho. They only serve Japanese whisky. It’s run by this English guy who went to Japan and was trained by Japanese bartenders. It’s a mecca. Come here to drink extraordinary whisky, served Japanese style with so much finesse and aplomb.

16 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4TL

T: +44.(0)207.287.9111 | www.bincho.co.uk/whisky-joint

Eat | Restaurants

Cocktails and British steak at Hawksmoor

Photograph courtesy of Hawksmoor


They do a really good job with Scotch and whiskey in general.


Spitalfields | 157a Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ

T: +44.(0)20.7426.4850 (book a table)

Guildhall | 10 Basinghall Street, London, EC2V 5BQ

T: +44.(0)20.7397.8120 (book a table)

Seven Dials | 11 Langley Street, London WC2H 9JG

T: +44.(0)20.7420.9390 (book a table)

Air Street | 5a Air Street, London, W1J 0AD

T: +44.(0)20.7406.3980 (book a table)


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