The Reincarnation of the “Illegal” Scotch Whisky

October 2009 – London, UK

Scotch whiskymaker Compass Box announces the return, reincarnation and relaunch of their much talked-about and much heralded malt whisky The Spice Tree. “The original Spice Tree created quite a following due to its flavour profile, so after the Scotch Whisky Association forced us to stop making it, I was determined to find a more “acceptable” way to achieve the
same style,” explains whiskymaker John Glaser. “It’s taken almost four years, but we’ve done it.”

First launched in 2005, Compass Box was forced to discontinue production under a legal threat by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) for their pioneering use of the highest quality French oak inner staves.

This, despite rave reviews from consumers, trade and press. They agreed to disagree with the SWA and halted production. (For the full story, see Over the past three years whiskymaker John Glaser has developed a new maturation process which yields similar if not superior results to the previous method, and this new process is  something the SWA can’t take any issue with.1 The new SPICE TREE also features a very bold new pack. (See photograph, attached.)

The Spice Tree is a 100% malt whisky from northern Highland distilleries, (notably and primarily malt whisky distilled at the Clynelish distillery). The whiskies are all a minimum of ten years-old, primarily from first-fill American oak casks, before being re-racked into bespoke barrels with heavily toasted new French oak heads for up to two additional years.

The Spice Tree returns to market globally throughout this autumn with a recommended price of £35 per bottle in the United Kingdom.


1 Rather than using inner stave inserts, as they did for the original Spice Tree, they rack the whisky into barrels with heavily toasted new French oak heads. They have created a method for getting a super heavy toast on the cask heads which imparts a flavour profile similar to the flat staves used for the original Spice Tree. It is a similar technique used for their Oak Cross whisky, except the toasting is much heavier and the whisky stays on the wood much longer, up to two years.


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