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Compass Box appoints new whisky-making director

Scotch whisky blender Compass Box has promoted James Saxon to whisky-making director after founder and CEO John Glaser announced his intention to step back from the company.
Saxon joined Compass Box as a whisky maker in 2019. He co-created Rogues’ Banquet with Glaser, which was recognised by awards including the World Whiskies Awards when it was released in 2020, and has led the development of expressions including Flaming Heart 2022, No Name, and the Extinct Blends Quartet
His promotion to whisky-making director will take effect immediately, the company said.
It was a glass of Compass Box’s lauded expression Asyla that ignited Saxon’s passion for the company and its trail-blazing approach to blended whisky.
“It has been a pleasure and an education to work alongside John since 2019,” he said. “To now be stepping into the role of whisky-making director for Compass Box is tremendously exciting. I could not be more proud to play such an influential role for this extraordinary brand, to collaborate with our marvellously creative team, and to further the work of expanding the global whisky conversation.”
Saxon’s promotion comes after Glaser announced last week that he would be stepping back from the company, which he founded in 2000 after working in a global marketing role for one of the world’s most famous blended whiskies, Johnnie Walker. Glaser said he first met Saxon at a whisky tasting in St Andrews, Scotland, eight years before he was eventually hired by Compass Box.
“His creativity and sensibility for whisky making in the Compass Box way have become bedrock for us,” Glaser said. “It’s no surprise, then, that I now pass the whisky-making torch to James with the confident belief that he will continue to show the world what’s possible with Scotch whisky.”
Compass Box CEO Maurice Doyle said: “James has long been creating exceptional whiskies for Compass Box and over the past five years has cemented himself as a real whisky-making talent. James is the perfect person to take on this new role — safeguarding the recipes that we all know and love, whilst pushing the boundaries of what is possible in Scotch, something that has been central to the brand’s ethos since the beginning.”

8 March 2024 - Bethany Brown