Presenting... Diageo Special Releases 2023
Autumn brings with it the continuation of a over 20-year-long tradition for drink's giant Diageo: the annual Special Releases Collection. The bottlings are always limited edition, at natural cask cask strength and much sought-after Scotch single malts. We're offering anyone who buys at least one bottle, an invitation to a private ballot for the very exciting first Roseisle expression!
We've got some very unique finishes within the new collection, named Spirited Xchange, with each of the eight expressions curated for the first time by master blender Dr. Stuart Morrison. He comments: "For me, Spirited Xchange is about identifying and celebrating the ideas, flavours, and tastes that surround us each day and inspire our curiosity to create."
Each label has been crafted by a different artist, with the aim being to encapsulate the tasting notes of each whisky in a single artwork.
Talisker - The Wild Explorador (£120)
The Malt Master pays homage to the Portuguese origins of great seafarers' ships, by finishing the supreme maritime whisky in a combination of Ruby, White and Tawny Port casks. This unusual combination of casks brings uncanny balance to a typically tumultuous Talisker, which was bottled at a robust 59.7% abv.
On the nose, clear maritime notes of sea air carry hints of oyster shell, salt and sand dune on a spicy and peaty base, before leading to rich, sweet hints of white grape, dark fruit and dry tannins. In the mouth, these characters merge as one creamy-smooth richly fruity taste, with waves of saltiness, smoke and spice crashing through the intense finish.
The Singleton of Glendullan 14 Year Old - The Silken Gown (£120)
A rare creation from Glendullan distillery in Speyside, this expression has been finished in Chardonnay de Bourgogne French Oak casks and bottled at 55% abv. It's name refers to the Malt Master's craftsmanship echoing the care of the most famous of French fashion houses, which has resulted in a whisky that enraptures with silken, amber character and luscious, bountiful flavour.
Aromas of buttery oak and juicy golden apples and pears enchant, while the rich and rounded palate boasts sweet notes of ripe golden fruit and smooth toffee. Velvet-smooth and silky, this is a whisky of perfect poise, born to enjoy the spotlight.
Lagavulin 12 Year Old - The Ink of Legends (£155)
Each work of art is a map of historic victories, imprinted on a living canvas. Similarly, Lagavulin whisky is the result of 200 years of intensity and pride, which the Malt Master has paired with ancient Mesoamerican art of tattoo, also rich in story and significance. The expression joins the recent trend of Tequila cask finishes, with a final flourish in luxury Don Julio Añejo tequila casks. Bottled at 56.4% abv.
Fresh notes of sea air, citrus and ripened berries are cut by an intense herbal smoke, while the creamy-smooth texture plays the perfect canvas to flavours of sweet plums, herbal smoke and touches of salt. The flavours deep-etch their impression for a lip-tingling whisky of legends.
Mortlach - The Katana's Edge (£250)
Mortlach, 'The Beast of Dufftown', is famed for its sweet yet savoury taste. Moved by this contrasting spark of umami, the Malt Master drew inspiration from the flavours of Japan, and finished part of this stunning expression in ex-Kanosuke Japanese Whisky casks. To add balance to the sweetness, ex-pinot noir casks were used to finish the remaining part of the whisky. Bottled at a formidable 58% abv.
Alluring aromas of ripe melon and pear arise on the nose, and lead to a palate of sweet-savoury contrasting notes which intertwine to create a brilliant umami-rich depth which lingers in the long, enticing and spicy finish. The result is a richly rewarding intensity as deep and complex as the mark of the mighty katana.
Oban 11 Year Old - The Soul of Calypso (£140)
Bottled at 58%, this 11-year-old Oban expression hailing from the West Highlands has been treated to a first-of-its-kind finish in Caribbean pot still rum casks. The single malt retains the fusion of highland and island styles that defines the distillery character, yet skilfully blends in the vivid passions and colours of a rum cask finish.
Expect fresh aromas of sea breeze, citrus and tropical fruit before an oily palate of sweet fruits and subtle sea salt notes that dance across the tongue. The finish brings an insistently spicy beat.
Glenkinchie 27 Year Old - The Floral Treasure (£340)
One of Glenkinchie's oldest bottlings to date, this 27-year-old Lowland expression is an perfectly refined expression of its lush, grassy flavours. Matured in refill American & European oak barrels and butts, and bottled at 58.3% abv, the delicately crafted Chinese porcelain vase is a poetic embodiment of the empire’s rich floral abundance.
The whisky opens with a nose of apple blossom, almond and vanilla before a lush grassy aroma. Smooth and pleasing in texture, the opulent and rounded taste starts lightly sweet and becomes elegantly drying, with a vibrant oaky spiciness that persists in the dry finish.
Clynelish 10 Year Old - The Jazz Crescendo (£165)
Presented at 57.5% abv, this is Clynelish's signature honey and waxy character at its finest. Matured solely within American oak bourbon casks for a decade, the expression boasts all the sweet and soulful richness of classic American jazz.
Mellow aromas on the nose begin a mineral and maritime theme, then become sweeter and rounder with notes of caramel and vanilla bean. The palate sings with powerful vanilla sweetness and spice, and hints of salt and pepper that reach its smooth crescendo in the long, spicy finish.
Roseisle 12 Year Old - The Origami Kite (£120)
A delightful new surprise in this year's line up, this is Roseisle distillery's first public release. The new Speysider, opened in 2009, has been aged here in first-fill ex-bourbon and refill casks, to showcase the natural character of the distillery. Roseisle's first flight is represented by the humble kite in which paper, wood, string, and a touch of alchemy send the creation soaring. At Roseisle Distillery, whisky making is a masterful merging of simple elements to create a stunning single malt that soars with profound flavours. Presented at a 56.5% abv.
Expect lush, grassy aromas, with hints of vanilla, ripe fruit and white chocolate, hinting at a smoothly creamy texture on the palate. The taste is rich and sweet, with notes of stewed fruits, dark molasses and vanilla cream that lifts the taste toward the rich, long, spicy finish. Roseisle cleverly inhabits a country between the rich grassy, fruity bounty of central Speyside and the nutty- spicy notes of the Highlands.
Explore the collection, here.