Diageo’s 2021 Scotch Whisky Special Release Collection Comes To Market

| October 6, 2021

Diageo’s 2021 Special Releases Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection is upon us. This yearly collection of unique offerings from the spirits giant is drawn from the aging warehouses amongst the various distilleries owned by them. It is always interesting to see what is brought forth in this mix, and this year looks to continue the trend.

A theme is often played upon by Diageo in tying these bottlings together, and for 2021 it is “Legends Untold.” What this amounts to, according to the company, is that “according to our ancient fables, otherworldly beings have fiercely protected the heartlands of remote Scottish distilleries for an eternity. This autumn by a twist of fate, the mythical creatures of the distilleries are set to come to life revealing their true characters. Drawn from some of Scotland’s most interesting, legendary distilleries, this collection nods to the hidden gems that can be found in each corner of the Scottish terrain amongst the lochs and rugged highlands.”

Those who acquire the bottlings (noted in more detail below) will find each featuring “bold heavily detailed illustrations and design work from renowned digital illustrator Ken Taylor. His striking signature style and interpretation of the mythical creatures take cues from his portfolio of pop culture artwork and unmistakable posters.”

Diageo's 2021 Special Releases Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection

Diageo’s 2021 Special Releases Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection (image via Diageo)

“We have delved into the core characteristics of several classic distilleries, exploring the elements and reimagining the liquids for the Legends Untold collection,” said Diageo master blender Dr. Craig Wilson in a prepared statement. “The mythical creatures of this year’s collection represent the true expressions of the distilleries. Taking inspiration from them, we have revealed new depths of flavor and embraced the essence of each of the whisky’s unique flavor profiles revealing the legend it brings to life. This year’s collection is just the very beginning of the story.”

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As a bonus added feature, each pack will sport a scannable QR code that offers a “multi-sensory experience begins with a narration of the cask-strength Single Malts’ tale. Whisky fans are then guided through a mixed reality tasting experience, designed to captivate their senses, all from the comfort of their own homes.”

Full details on each release are found below, including official tasting notes and pricing. In general they will be available for purchase in limited quantities this fall from specialist retailers in Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and selected markets across Asia and in airport duty-free.

Mortlach 13 Year Old 

ABV: 55.9%
Region: Speyside
Cask: Virgin and refill American oak casks 

Tasting Notes: A mellow and rounded nose-feel lulls the senses, then introduces a first soaring note of freshly oiled wood. Next, rising through this, savory and meaty notes suggest the beast within yet also carry a sweet tartness, suggesting roast pheasant with redcurrant jelly. The senses are heightened as these pitch perfect aromas in turn reveal a deeper moorland base-note, rich in heather pollen and freshly crushed herbs. A drop of water completes the anticipation, bringing out a sweet, fruity hint of lime. 

Limited quantities available

SRP: $124.99

Singleton of Glendullan 19 Year Old

ABV: 54.6%
Region: Speyside
Cask: Refill American oak casks, finished in cognac casks

Tasting Notes: Mild in feel, the nose shines with top notes of dried fruits suggesting dried figs and apricots or crystalized angelica and orange peel, while beneath this there is the dry scent of a light fruitcake, iced with spirited notes of vanilla scented marzipan. More buttery notes emerge with a drop of water, which also brings up the spiciness.

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Limited quantities available

SRP: $174.99

Talisker 8 Year Old

ABV: 59.7%
Region: Island/Isle of Skye 

Cask: Heavily peated refill casks

Tasting Notes: The mild nose-feel gives little hint of the furious spirit soon to emerge. The top notes are sweet and maritime, an early cereal hint of porridge oats rapidly giving way to more cleansing and maritime aromas that suggest briny seaweed, crystal salt and iodine, on a base of mountain smoke. A drop of water softens things, increasing the maritime character.

Limited quantities available

SRP: $114.99

Lagavulin 26 Year Old

ABV: 44.2%
Region: Islay
Cask: PX/Oloroso seasoned first fill casks

Tasting Notes: On the mellow nose a finely woven wine-woody aroma of great complexity takes time to yield its individual secrets. Light, fresh and vinous top notes mingle with the linseed oil of an artist’s studio then fade into a warm suggestion of sun-bleached polished mahogany, backed by dry edible seaweed, with sweeter hints of baked fig and butterscotch. Further in, the aromas grow more pungent, oily and fragrantly smoky; like going fishing, with background aromas of tarry rope and boat engine. If a little water is added, their intensity is reduced, while a note of clean linen survives best.

No. bottles available: 7,542 

SRP: $2,399.99

Lagavulin 12 Year Old

ABV: 56.5%
Region: Islay 

Cask: Refill American Oak casks

Tasting Notes: Mild, drying and soon, wonderfully aromatic; clean, fresh and maritime, with top notes of sea air and Himalayan salt, supported by fragrant smoke-dried Lapsang Souchong tea, mineral salts and light cleansing salve. Beneath these lie drier notes of cocoa powder and dried seaweed, with a squeeze of lemon zest, this salty sweetness imbued with wood-smoke from a distant bonfire on the shore.

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Limited quantities available

SRP: $149.99

Cardhu 14 Year Old

ABV: 55.5%
Region: Speyside
Casks: Refill American oak casks, finished in red wine casks

Tasting Notes: The mild nose is fresh and lightly fruity, as gentle aromas of white grape and lychee frolic with sharper hints of green apple, pear and a trace of orange zest, all enrobed by a hint of buttery pastry. Rising above these, a light spicy note reveals more of the wine-seasoned wood. A drop of water introduces a light note of meadow flowers, which become distinctly honeyed with time.

Limited quantities available

SRP: $149.99

Oban 12 Year Old

ABV: 56.2%
Region: Coastal Highland 

Cask: Freshly charred American Oak casks

Tasting Notes: Mellow, with elusive yet unmistakeably maritime top notes of crispy edible seaweed, crystal salt and coarse black pepper on a wooden trencher, perhaps accompanied by very lightly smoked fillets of white fish. After a while a spoonful of sweet chilli sauce is added to the platter while with a drop of water, light olive oil becomes the top note.

Limited quantities available

SRP: $114.99

Royal Lochnagar 16 Year Old 

ABV: 57.5%

Region: Highland
Cask: American Oak and European Oak refill casks  

Tasting Notes: The very mellow and rounded nose swirls with subtle aromas. The top notes are lightly fruity, suggesting orange zest and green apple. They are encased after a while, in a hint of puff-pastry, all resting on a mossy and lightly woody base. Adding a splash of water adds to the fruit, now firm white grapes, and brings up the spiciness.

Limited quantities available

SRP: $249.99


Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...