Top 20 Whiskies of 2021

#9 • Compass Box No Name No. 3

  • Rank: 9
  • Year: 2021
  • Score: 93
  • Price: $130
  • ABV: 48.9%
  • Style: Blended malt
  • Place of Origin: Scotland

The third installment in Compass Box’s gothic exploration of smoke, or the whiskies that shall not be named, builds upon their bewitching sequence of distillery duets. Pairing Ardbeg with Caol Ila, then Caol Ila with Talisker, blender James Saxon invited Laphroaig and Bowmore to dance for No. 3, underpinned by the familiar Compass Box foundation malts. There’s a charming balance of sweetness and peat, as the hardy coastal smokiness of Laphroaig is quelled by the ripe tropical fruitiness of Bowmore. The mouthfeel is satisfyingly creamy, with orange fondant, chocolate, honey, and apricot flavors tightly bound together by tendrils of smoke. —Jonny McCormick