The 2010 release of the third release of Compass Box Flaming Heart was one of my favorite whiskeys of that year. Last year, Compass Box released a fourth edition of Flaming Heart. The third edition of this blended malt whiskey was made primarily from whiskeys distilled at Clynelish, Tobermory and Caol Ila. According to Compass Box, the fourth edition is composed of:
Single malt whiskies from distilleries located in the Northern Highlands, Islay, Speyside and Islands. Primarily from the south shore of Islay and the village of Brora (Highlands).The village of Brora is Clynelish (also a major component of the third edition). The south shore of Islay would indicate Laphroaig, Lagavulin or Ardbeg. Of the three, Laphroaig is probably the most likely.
Compass Box Flaming Heart Fourth Edition, 48.9% abv ($90)
The nose is really nice with peat and seaweed and some malt notes behind them. The palate is sweet peat with some fruit notes as well (canned pears) and has a nice, oily mouthfeel. The finish has nice coastal notes.
Taking this head to head with the third edition, I'd say it's peatier but a bit less complex. The third edition was notable for its balance and complexity. The fourth edition is more squarely in the peated camp, with more traditional coastal notes. My guess is that it either has more of the Islay malt or the south shore Islay they are using in place of the third edition's Caol Ila is more dominant, which makes sense given those bold, south shore Islays. Either way, both flaming hearts are good whiskies.
While I like the romance of the name Flaming Heart, I thought I would suggest some names for John Glaser to consider on future Compass Box labels: Smoking Spleen? Burning Liver? Combustible Esophagus? Come on John, throw me a bone.
See the LA Whiskey Society Reviews of Compass Box Flaming Heart Fourth Edition and Compass Box Flaming Heart Third Edition.