Tobias and the Angel painting inspires Compass Box whisky

22nd February, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

Independent Scotch whisky bottler Compass Box has unveiled a limited edition expression inspired by a 15th-century painting, which contains liquid from the Clynelish and Caol Ila distilleries.

Tobias & the Angel whisky is inspired by the 15th-century painting of the same name

Tobias & the Angel whisky is inspired by the 15th-century painting of the same name

The new Scotch whisky, called Tobias & the Angel, is limited to 2,634 bottles worldwide and will be available to buy next month (March).

The expression is a “culmination of almost two decades of whisky-making”.

Compass Box founder John Glaser said: “For nearly 20 years, since we created our malt blend called Eleuthera in 2002, we have held a special reverence for the two distilleries used in Tobias & the Angel: single malt whiskies from the Clynelish and Caol Ila distilleries.

“That’s when I first discovered how perfectly these single malts complement each other. When we were recently offered extremely old and special parcels of whiskies from these two distilleries, I was compelled to put them together again. There is nothing else here, just this magical pairing of single malt whiskies.”

The expression is a blend of just over half 24-year-old malt whisky from Highland distillery Clynelish, which was aged in American oak hogsheads, and peaty whisky from Islay distillery Caol Ila “of a considerably older age”.

The label design and name of the whisky takes inspiration from the Tobias and the Angel painting from the workshop of Italian Renaissance artist Andrea del Verrochio. The painting is believed to be a collaboration between several artists, most notably Leonardo da Vinci, who is thought to have painted the fish and the dog.

Compass Box contacted the National Gallery in London, where the painting resides, to seek permission to use the artwork. A royalty was paid to the museum for its use.

“We believe the whiskies we make are not just liquid in a bottle,” said Glaser. “They each represent a concept, a core idea, but at the same time they are multi-dimensional works – whisky, name, package design.

“For this whisky, the name of the biblical story Tobias and the Angel just felt right; it seemed to reflect the personality of the two whiskies in this recipe.

“Searching through the many depictions of the story over the centuries, the Verrocchio-Leonardo painting had the beauty and the gravitas we wanted for this special creation.”

Available to buy from 1 March in select specialist retailers, Tobias & the Angel is priced at RRP £450 (US$500).

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