New Secret Speyside Collection From Pernod Ricard Offers Up Some Rare Scotch - The Whiskey Wash

New Secret Speyside Collection From Pernod Ricard Offers Up Some Rare Scotch

By Nino Marchetti / July 17, 2019

When one typically thinks of mainstream Scotch whisky releases that are rarer in scope, Diageo often jumps to mind. This spirit giant’s annual Special Releases collection pulls from both well known and obscure single malt distilleries across a vast portfolio. Chivas Brothers, the Scotch arm of Diageo rival Pernod Ricard, is now pulling off something of a rarer whisky line up itself with the recent debut of its new Secret Speyside Collection.

The Secret Speyside Collection, according to those behind it, is a curated collection of 18-30 year old single malt whiskies from four Speyside region distilleries. These distilleries include “the vanished distillery of Caperdonich, the pioneering Longmorn distillery, the landmark Glen Keith distillery, and the remote Braes of Glenlivet distillery.” The number of bottlings from each of these varies, and you’ll find very complete details towards the end of this article based upon information provided by Pernod Ricard.

“With centuries of rich whisky heritage against a jaw-dropping Scottish landscape,” said Alan Winchester, a Chivas Brothers Scotch whisky icon with over 30 years of Speyside distilling experience, in a prepared statement, “Speyside is the treasure chest of Scotch and brimming with untold stories. Curating the Collection has been a labour of love for the Chivas Brothers team; its contents have been hand-selected to help shine a light on some seldom-seen distilleries, their rare malts, and unique histories. Any whisky connoisseur will find something new in this world-class selection, which demonstrates the breadth of flavour and character that Speyside distilleries can achieve.”

Secret Speyside Collection

Some of the whiskies from the Secret Speyside Collection (image via Pernod Ricard)

All of the whiskies in this collection are debuting this month in global travel retail exclusively for one year before rolling out into selected markets globally from summer 2020. As for the specifics of each distillery and related bottlings:

Caperdonich – A Vanished Distillery

Once gone, there will never be another. This collection contains the only available Single Malts from this distillery, which was taken down brick by brick in 2011. The whiskies released from this ‘vanished distillery’ of Speyside offer a rare opportunity to discover and compare peated and unpeated expressions of the same age (21 and 25 year old), from the same distillery.

The unpeated spirit is full of ripe orchard fruits that give Caperdonich’s sweet single malt a complex body and long smooth finish. When gently peated, an untraditional process for a Speyside Single Malt, a sophisticated smokiness adds an extra element and depth of flavour.

There will be six whiskies released from Caperdonich, with half being peated whiskies and the other half unpeated. The peated selection includes an 18 year old (48% ABV), a 21 year old (48% ABV) and a cask strength 25 year old whisky. The unpeated whiskies are a 21 year old 48% ABV) 25 year old (48% ABV), and a cask strength 30 year old. The peated 25 year old and non-peated 30 year old will be released in October 2019.

  • 18 year old Peated (48% ABV)
    • Matured in American Oak barrels
    • Smoky bonfire comes together with the classic sweet and fruity Speyside style. This rare and robust Single Malt is subtly layered with initial aromas of peat, followed by a taste of apple and brown sugar, gentle ginger and warming orange.
    • RRP $130
  • 21 year old Peated (48% ABV)
    • Matured in American Oak barrels
    • This is a layered and complex malt: gentle peat and bonfire embers come together with warm cedar and mandarin orange. Long and smoky, the finish leaves a subtle taste of liquorice and herbal tea leaves.
    • RRP $290
  • 25 year old Peated (cask strength – TBC when bottled in September)
    • Matured in oak hogsheads
    • This smoky and fruity malt engulfs the senses: rich notes of peat smoke are brilliantly balanced by green apple and sweet pear, with bonfire aromas and a hint of salt leading into a long and smooth finish.
    • RRP $550
  • 21 year old Unpeated (48% ABV)
    • Matured in 1st fill American Oak barrels
    • This fruity and sweet malt brings together zesty orange, poached pear and rich vanilla, with floral herbs for a long and smooth finish.
    • RRP $250
  • 25 year old Unpeated (48% ABV)
    • Matured in first fill American Oak barrels
    • This warming, rich malt combines complex flavours of juicy blackcurrant, sweet pear and creamy milk chocolate. A touch of cinnamon spice leads to a long and succulent finish.
    • RRP $480
  • 30y/o Unpeated (cask strength – TBC when bottled in September)
    • Matured in first fill American Oak barrels
    • Flavours of soft fruit and fresh pineapple meet sweet honey. This is the ultimate malt from the lost distillery: well-balanced with gentle, warming spices and an incredibly long, smooth finish.
    • RRP $990

Longmorn – The Pioneering Distillery

Blending unique insights in technology and craft, Longmorn was designed by founder John Duff in 1894 to create a whisky of outstanding quality. Duff even built a railway station next to the distillery to facilitate supplies getting to the distillery and speed up the finished product getting into the hands of whisky lovers. One of Scotland’s best kept secrets, Longmorn has long been considered world class by distillers, blenders and connoisseurs, often referred to as ‘every distiller’s favourite apart from their own.’

The three whiskies from Longmorn in this collection are an 18 year old (48% ABV), 23 year old (48% ABV) and a cask strength 25 year old, with each bringing a more intense take on the soft, creamy toffee and rich flavour profile that is highly regarded by distillers and industry experts worldwide.

  • 18 year old (48% ABV)
    • Matured in American Oak barrels and hogsheads
    • Incredibly smooth with notes of mango and creamy toffee, complemented by flavours of ripe juicy pear and a touch of oak. The finish is incredibly sweet and long.
    • RRP $100
  • 23 year old (48% ABV)
    • Matured in American Oak barrels and hogsheads
    • Incredibly sweet with creamy milk chocolate and fruity pear flavours mixed with lemon curd and a touch of ginger. The finish is voluptuous with a warming spice.
    • RRP $290
  • 25 year old (cask strength, 52.2% ABV)
    • Matured in American Oak barrels, hogsheads and butts
    • Incredibly sweet with a touch of cinnamon followed by notes of red apple, mandarin orange and rich sultanas. Dry in character, the finish is long and smooth.
    • RRP $450

Glen Keith – The Landmark Distillery

Glen Keith was the first Speyside distillery built in the 20th century. The distillery rose from the ruins of an old mill on the banks of the River Isla, famed for its pure water and leaping wild salmon. This collection marks the first official age-statement release this century from the landmark distillery.

The three whiskies from Glen Keith in this collection are a 21 year old, 25 year old and a 28 year old (all 43% ABV). Each is exceptionally smooth as Glen Keith’s pot stills are taller than most, giving an extra ‘copper kiss’ to the single malt and resulting in a complex, intensely smooth example of the classic Speyside style, bursting with juicy summer fruit notes.

  • 21 year old (43% ABV)
    • Specially Selected Oak barrels and butts
    • A perfect balance of fruit and sweetness. Soft peach and tropical pineapple, with a toasted almond finish.
    • RRP $180
  • 25 year old (43% ABV)
    • Matured in 1st fill American Oak barrels
    • A perfect balance of sweetness and mellow spice. Orange and ginger marmalade with tangy gooseberry jam and vanilla custard.
    • RRP $380
  • 28 year old (43% ABV)
    • Matured in 1st fill American Oak barrels
    • A perfect balance of sweet fruit and soft spice. Sweet orange, apricot and vanilla fudge with a touch of homemade gingerbread.
    • RRP $500

Braes of Glenlivet – The Remote Distillery

This is the first official bottling* from one of the highest distilleries in Speyside. In years past, when the snow fell, it settled on the hills of Braes of Glenlivet first. The remote distillery is watched over by a lone keeper at night and is truly at the mercy of the uncompromising Scottish elements.

The three whiskies from Braes of Glenlivet in this collection are a 25 year old (48% ABV), 27 year old (48% ABV) and a cask strength 30 year old. Made using the purest water from the Preenie Well, 2 miles deep in the Braes hills, the resulting whisky is smooth, balanced and packed with tropical fruits.

  • 25 year old (48% ABV)
    • Matured in 1st fill American Oak barrels
    • Sweet notes on the nose with aromas of orange marmalade and ripe melon. Fruity flavours on the palate with apricot intermingled with sweet coconut and complemented by a long, spicy dry finish.
    • RRP $400
  • 27 year old (48% ABV)
    • Matured in 1st fill American Oak barrels
    • Intense fruity notes on the nose with aromas of red apple and cinnamon. Sweet and creamy on the palate with hints of ripe banana and butterscotch leading to a long and velvety finish.
    • RRP $450
  • 30 year old (cask strength, 50.3% ABV)
    • Matured in American Oak barrels and hogsheads
    • Tropical notes on the nose with aromas of mango and root ginger. Fruity flavours intensifying on the palate with juicy orange, blackberry jam and marzipan coming through, resulting in a long-lasting, sweet finish.
    • RRP $600