The 'Manager's Choice Single Cask Collection' are a new limited range of whiskies that are being released on four different dates by drinks company Diageo. The idea for the range was that the managers of each of Diageo's 27 whisky distilleries in Scotland were asked to select just one cask from their maturing stock. This cask was to represent the definitive taste of their distillery's product and all are released at cask strength. As each manager has only selected one cask, the number of bottles of each whisky is limited to around 400 - this makes each one very rare and the prices reflect this (all are in the £200-300 bracket). The limited number of bottles also impacts on where Diageo plan to release these whiskies, with them only being made available in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and the Benelux countries.
There has been much discussion about the first release of the 'Manager's Choice Single Cask Collection' on blogs, websites and forums, although the majority of information relates to just the age, price and distillery that the whisky comes from. So far no-one seems to have been lucky enough to try any of the first releases, which launched the collection on the 4th September. Information about the second, third and fourth releases is even sketchier and only available on a couple of websites.
Here, we have waited slightly and tried to gather as much information as we can about the 'Manager's Choice' series. For the first release, we have included the recommended retail price (RRP), the predominant cask that the whisky has been matured in, the alcoholic strength (ABV) and Diageo's brief tasting notes for each. These appear in brackets next to each whisky. For the second, third and fourth releases, we have only been able to find the RRP to date, but plan to add more information when we can.
Release 1 - 4th September 2009
Cardhu 1997 (£250/ bourbon cask/ 57.3%/ vanilla and tangerine aroma with an immediacy of flavour)
Glen Elgin 1998 (£250/ sherry cask/ 61.1%/ sweet and light with citrus and vanilla flavours)
Linkwood 1996 (£200/ bourbon cask/ 58.3%/ well balanced sweet wood aromas with a smooth cereal taste)
Mortlach 1997 (£250/ sherry cask/ 57.3%/ creamy, sweet vanilla with a long finish)
Oban 2000 (£300/ sherry cask/ 58.7%/ fresh citrus aromas with a smooth sweet finish)
Teaninich 1996 (£200/ bourbon cask/ 55.3%/ aromatic lime zest, sweet fruit and green banana)
Release 2 - 4th January 2010
Blair Athol (£200), Cragganmore (£250), Dalwhinnie (£250), Glen Spey (£200), Strathmill (£200), Talisker (£300)
Release 3 - 4th March 2010
Caol Ila (£300), Dailuaine (£200), Glen Ord (£250), Glenkinchie (£250), Inchgower (£200), Mannochmore (£200), Royal Lochnagar (£250)
Release 4 - 4th June 2010
Auchroisk (£200), Benrinnes (£200), Clynelish (£250), Glendullan (£200), Glenlossie (£200), Knockando (£250), Lagavulin (£300)
The final and 27th whisky is rumoured to be from Diageo's new Roseisle distillery and the release date for this has yet to be announced, as the whisky is still maturing to reach the legal age of three years. If true, this will be the first ever bottling of a single malt whisky from Roseisle. Having said that, Diageo also own Dufftown distillery and this does not appear on the list as yet, so the final whisky may be coming from there!