Around this time each year, there is always a ripple of anticipation around the whisky industry as they wait to see what Diageo, Scotland's largest producer of Scotch malt whisky, are to release in their annual Special Releases programme. This programme highlights some of the most exceptional single malt stock from within their portfolio of 28 working distilleries, plus remaining stocks from those which have been closed. Some of these stocks have dwindled to almost critical levels.
Now the waiting is over as Diageo have announced the eleven whiskies that will make up the 2014 Special Releases collection, which is due for release very shortly. This year's selection of whiskies (pictured, above) are all bottled at the natural cask strength, are non chill filtered and all are limited edition. The collection again places well known flagship distilleries alongside very rare stock from the iconic Brora and Port Ellen, both of which closed in 1983.
The details are below ...
Benrinnes 21 years old
Distilled 1992. Matured in ex-bodega European oak casks. 2,892 bottles. 56.9% ABV. £240.
Brora 35 years old
Distilled 1978. Matured in re-fill American oak and European oak casks. 2,964 bottles. 48.6% ABV. £1,200.
Caol Ila 15 years old Unpeated
Distilled 1998. Matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks. 10,668 bottles. 60.3% ABV. £75.
Caol Ila 30 years old
Distilled 1983. Matured in re-fill American oak and European oak casks. 7,638 bottles. 55.1% ABV. £425.
Clynelish Select Reserve
A combination of different ages and five different cask types. 2,964 bottles. 54.9% ABV. £500.
Cragganmore 25 years old
Distilled in 1988. Matured in American oak casks. 3,372 bottles. 51.4% ABV. £299.
The Singleton of Glendullan 38 years old
Distilled 1975. Matured in re-fill European oak casks. 3,756 bottles. 59.8% ABV. £750.
Lagavulin 12 years old
Distilled in 2001 & 2002. Matured in re-fill American oak casks. 31,428 bottles. 54.4% ABV. £80.
Strathmill 25 years old
Distilled 1988. Matured in re-fill American oak casks. 2,700 bottles. 52.4% ABV. £275.
Port Ellen 35 years old
Distilled 1978. Matured in re-fill American oak and European oak casks. 2,964 bottles. 56.5% ABV. £2,200.
Rosebank 21 years old
Distilled 1992. Matured in re-fill American oak casks. 4,530 bottles. 55.3% ABV. £300.
Karen and Matt were privileged to be invited to a small private tasting of the eleven single malts in London last week. Their tasting notes and thoughts about each whisky will appear shortly. The tasting was hosted by Dr. Nick Morgan, Diageo's Head of Whisky Outreach, and Maureen Robinson, one of Diageo's Senior Master Blenders. A huge thank you goes to them both.