Next up in the series is Jonathan Gibson from Compass box, this is an independent company producing some absolutely fantastic whisky ( blended ) , but other than the whisky they produce they are intent on being honest and never seem to too far away from a little controversy.. The words transparent and compass box just seem to go hand in hand, so here to tell us a little more.. I give you compass box ..
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF …
Jonathan Gibson.. Compass box
I live just round the corner from our office and blending room, so I’m often first into the office – and the first task of the day is always coffee. As a team, we are nearly as enthusiastic about coffee as we are about whisky (our Whiskymaker, Gregg Glass hand roasts coffee out back from time to time), so preparing a fresh pot is a must. The team tends to catch up over a cup first thing before heading off to our desks to pursue individual projects.
For much of 2016, we’ve been campaigning for greater transparency in the world of Scotch whisky, so often my first step will be to look at progress and next steps on the campaign. This could be responding to a request from a blogger, journalist or interested consumer or it could be more substantial planning involving other members of the team and perhaps also taking external advice. The campaign probably takes up an inordinate amount of our time but it is an issue close to all of our hearts. Compass Box has always aimed to be fully transparent with our consumers and as things stand the regulations actively prevent us from doing this.
Next up might be a product development meeting with our Founder John Glaser and Whiskymaker Gregg Glass. We release several Limited Edition whiskies each year – using them to tell stories, showcase new flavour combinations or maturation techniques or (as with our recent release Enlightenment) to campaign on issues relevant to the industry. Ideas for the whiskies can come from anywhere (a particular story we want to tell or anniversary we want to celebrate, a beer or wine one of us has enjoyed that could inspire something new in Scotch, an incredible parcel of whisky Gregg or John has discovered and fallen in love with) and we use this time to talk through ideas, share the liquids, review the packaging concepts and discuss the merits of the available options. Our current batch of Limited Editions: Enlightenment and The Circus are available now – and our next batch will be coming out in the Autumn.
Afternoons are a mix. We have the phrase ‘Above all, Share & Enjoy’ printed on the wall of our blending room and true to this we often have guests in the office tasting through our whiskies with Herman, our UK Ambassador. It’s a way for us to stay in touch with enthusiasts, bloggers, bartenders, retailers – to show them what we’ve been doing, hear their thoughts and generally stay in touch with the people that enjoy our whiskies. We also use these sessions to explore matching whiskies to food (see our website for more ideas on this, if you’re interested) and to add to our growing database of Scotch cocktails – something that our founder John has been passionate about since starting the business.
Education and training is something we’re increasingly working on. Knowledge is power and we’ve always felt that the more the consumer knows the better equipped they will be to make a decision on whether or not our whiskies are for them. So I’ll spend some of each day working on that – this could mean developing product infographics (showing the component whiskies and casks used for each of our blends), preparing for the behind-the-scenes ‘Whisky School’ series of videos we produce for our website or working on some training or support materials for our distributors to help their teams to stay up-to-date with developments at Compass Box HQ.
Friday afternoons, we tend to end the day with a whisky tasting. This could be a blind triangular, or a prototype recipe that Gregg our Whiskymaker is sharing with the team for feedback. Equally, it could be another whisky or spirit or beer or sherry wine that one of the team has brought in to share. There might also be a couple of samples to take home to review. The fact that everyone at HQ gets involved in tastings on a weekly basis is probably one of the more unusual aspect of our company set-up and one of my favourite things about Compass Box. We’re a small group (just eight of us at HQ), so it is more than manageable and it keeps us all connected to the liquid in the bottle, which is ultimately what we’re all here for.
Anyone wishing to stay informed about our new releases can sign up to receive our newsletter at http://www.compassboxwhisky.com.
If you haven’t yet seen our campaign and proposed changes to the current regulations, please visit: http://www.compassboxwhisky.com/transparency and let us know your thoughts – anyone interested in getting in touch with any of our team can do so any time using the contact details on our website. We’re always delighted to hear different perspectives.