Putting an end to whisky connoisseurs’ year-long wait, Diageo – world’s largest producer of spirits and beverages – has raised the curtains on the Diageo Special Releases 2018 Collection. This year’s collection feature a limited range of impeccably crafted, rare and precious Scotch whiskies, even encompassing liquid gems from long-shut-down distilleries.
As Diageo’s Global Malts Ambassador Donald Colville puts it: “Diageo Special Releases 2018 Collection allows both knowledgeable whisky fans and those new to Scotch to hunt out truly unique limited editions. The exceptional variety and quality of whiskies in this year’s collection will not disappoint, and we’re looking forward to sharing the stories behind the bottles.”
Indeed, from old favourites like the Lagavulin 12 Years and the oldest-ever Caol Ila 35 Years to rarely seen drams from Inchgower and Pittyvaich, there’s something for everyone in this collection. Let’s check out what each of the selections has to offer.
CAOL ILA 35YO: The first-ever 35yo release of this Islay malt is also the oldest-ever Caol Ila from the original distillers. Fruity aromas and creamy-smooth texture combine with a sweet-spicy, smoky character. Matured in refill American oak hogsheads and refill European oak butts. Just 3,276 bottles.
CAOL ILA 15YO: Cal Ila is known for its peated flavour, but years ago an unusual unpeated batch was made once a year. Now, it makes a compelling annual Special Release. The first to combine refill and rejuvenated American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts, this is an exceptional whisky.
CLADACH: The first-ever master blend of whiskies from six coastal single malt distilleries: Caol Ila, Clynelish, Lagavulin, Oban, Inchgower and Talisker. A glorious mix of whiskies from four different cask types captures the sweet-salty, spicy, smoky strands of a maritime malt perfectly.
INCHGOWER 27YO: Bottlings of this particular Speyside malt is rare and this complex, mature expression retains its nutty-spicy distillery character well. From refill American oak casks, it starts sweetly then becomes crisply aromatic with a beautiful bitter-sweet finish. Just 8,544 bottles.
LAGAVULIN 12YO: An epic expression from an historic distillery, this aspirational 12-year old is packed with sweet, smoky, drying distillery character. Look for a particularly complex spread of these aromas and flavours in this 17th annual release.
OBAN 21YO: Oban is a tiny, historic distillery, and this very rare extra-mature example, unusually matured in refill European oak butts, is mainly maritime in nature. Aromas of sand, dry seaweed and salt lead on to fruitcake and peat. The taste is intense and sweet, with some saltiness.
PITTYVAICH 28YO: Now longer-lived than the long-closed distillery that made it, the oldest Pittyvaich in this series is smoothly coating and sweet to taste. It is deceptively light, but full-flavoured and forceful, with a warm pungency in the long finish. Just 4,680 bottles.
THE SINGLETON GLEN ORD 14YO: The first The Singleton Glen Ord in this series enjoys a unique and ingenious five cask triple-maturation process that enriches the sweet Glen Ord signature notes of rich fruit. It’s thought to be the first time that five different woods have been used to mature a Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
TALISKER 8YO: The first cask-strength Talisker 8YO from the original distillers, inspired by the regular 8YO releases before the late 80s. From deep-charred first fill ex-bourbon American oak hogsheads, it is smooth, lengthy and balanced, with a sweet and youthful assuredness.