Diageo 2019 Special Releases Collection Brings Forth Some Interesting Scotch Whiskies - The Whiskey Wash
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Diageo 2019 Special Releases Collection Brings Forth Some Interesting Scotch Whiskies

By Nino Marchetti / October 13, 2019

The annual release of the Diageo Special Releases Collection sees this spirits giant often putting together into one line up a range of Scotch whiskies that represent distilleries in its Scotland portfolio, be them still producing whisky or long shuttered. It is a chance to see a picture of the vast number of potential expressions this spirits giant has at its disposal, and certainly for 2019 that trend continues.

The Diageo 2019 Special Releases Collection, according to those behind it, consists of eight cask strength single malt Scotch whiskies drawn from different distilleries. It is themed this year, being called “Rare by Nature.” This theme is said to act as a unifier of sorts across the collection, “evoking the distinctive nature and characteristics of each distillery.”

“Discerning drinkers around the world will delight in this new collection,” said Ewan Gunn, Diageo Global Whisky Master, in a prepared statement. “From the hand selected Single Malt Scotch to the visually arresting bottles, they each tell a strong story of the extraordinary place and the people who have shaped each dram. These prestigious and limited-edition bottlings offer fans an opportunity to collect and explore some of our rarest stocks.”

Diageo 2019 Special Releases Collection

Diageo 2019 Special Releases Collection (image via Diageo)

The collection for 2019 includes whiskies from Speyside distilleries, Mortlach, Cardhu, Cragganmore and Pittyvaich, expressions from the Highland distilleries of Dalwhinnie and The Singleton of Glen Ord and the best of the West Coast of Scotland’s Islands, Islay distillery Lagavulin and the Isle of Skye’s Talisker. More details on each are below – it should be noted all will be available this fall, with the Pittyvaich, Mortlach and Singleton expressions being specific to the United States market.

Cardhu 14-Year-Old – UK SRP £120

In Brief: Supremely elegant, showcasing the ‘finesse’ for which Cardhu is famous. Best enjoyed straight, as an apéritif or to accompany a creamy dessert.

In a Sentence: A deliciously unusual expression, this Cardhu comes from a trial batch double matured for much longer than is the norm in ex-Amontillado sherry-seasoned hogsheads; this wraps the expected Cardhu gentleness in a fine cloak of richer cloth.

ABV: 55.0%
Region: Speyside
Cask: Double matured in ex-Amontillado sherry seasoned hogsheads

Cragganmore 12-Year-Old – UK SRP £85
In Brief: A very unusual example of Cragganmore that intriguingly combines Speyside elegance and spicy smokiness.

In a Sentence: If you think you know Cragganmore, try this deliciously unusual expression; building on its smooth Speyside character, this is a medium-peated, lightly smoky cask-strength expression made as a trial in 2006 and matured in refill casks, which is only now ready to release as a 12YO

ABV: 58.4%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From medium peated, refill American oak casks

Dalwhinnie 30-Year-Old – UK SRP £500
In Brief: A most unusual extra-mature Dalwhinnie that is engaging, evocative and thoroughly satisfying.

In a Sentence: A delicious, finely balanced and supple old Dalwhinnie with a depth of flavour that repays thoughtful appreciation, this expression is both more rounded than younger siblings and takes a spicier view of life, too.

ABV: 54.7%
Region: Highland
Cask: From refill hogsheads and butts

Lagavulin 12-Year-Old – UK SRP £110
In Brief: A powerfully smoky example of Lagavulin, youthful and vigorous, with bags of distillery character.

In a Sentence: A powerful example of Lagavulin, pure in style and from spirit specially selected for its high peating levels. This is a youthful and vigorous Lagavulin, with bags of distillery character.

ABV: 56.5%
Region: Islay
Cask: From refill American oak casks

Mortlach 26-Year-Old – US SRP $2000
In Brief: A magnificent example of ‘The Beast of Dufftown’ at its most impressive, and a fantastic digestif, enjoyed straight.

In a Sentence: Magnificent in every way, this is an epic, perfectly matured Mortlach of exceptional quality from first-fill ex-sherry butts that is very fine at natural strength and can also be enjoyed with a small dash of water, which softens the tannins.

ABV: 53.3%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From fresh-toasted first-fill Pedro Ximenez & Oloroso Sherry seasoned casks

Pittyvaich 29-Year-Old – US SRP $430
In Brief: An exotic, unusual and long-aged example of this uncommon malt from a long closed distillery.

In a Sentence: A unique expression with real depth of flavour and character of a ‘ghost’ malt from a closed distillery, this is the only double-matured Pittyvaich ever released.

ABV: 51.4%
Region: Speyside
Cask: Double matured in Pedro Ximenez & Oloroso sherry seasoned bodega casks

Talisker 15-Year-Old – UK SRP £110
In Brief: A superb new expression that retains the Talisker character, while adding sweetness, depth and complexity to the overall flavour.

In a Sentence: This is a spicy, deep, sea monster from unusual casks, that holds nothing back as it brings a new depth, spiciness and complexity to long-matured, sweet and rounded Talisker base notes.

ABV: 57.3%
Region: Isle of Skye
Cask: From freshly charred American oak hogsheads

The Singleton of Glen Ord 18-Year-Old – US SRP $170
In Brief: A different yet still delicious example of Glen Ord with a subtle aroma and a memorably complex and bracing taste.

In a Sentence: Unusually from freshly charred American oak hogsheads, this fine cask-strength expression is much spicier than is usual for The Singleton Glen Ord, while retaining its signature smoothness and appealing richness.

ABV: 55.0%
Region: Highland
Cask: From fresh charred American oak hogsheads