Whisky Focus - Diageo 2013 Special Releases

Diageo 2013 Special Releases


3rd September 2013
More rare special release collectable whiskies from Diageo.

Diageo has announced the ten Single Malt Scotch Whiskies which will be released in limited edition this autumn in the Special Releases series. All are at natural cask strength.

As usual, the series embraces some exceedingly rare and therefore increasingly sought after single malts from the dwindling stocks of long-silent distilleries alongside expressions from familiar and less familiar working distilleries, but at unusual ages.

With a total of 10 whiskies in this years Special Releases, the oldest of which being a Lagavulin 37 Year Old which was distilled back in 1976, it is the oldest expression of Lagavulin ever released by the distillers and I am sure the 2,000 bottles in the release will be highly sought after even with its £1,950 price tag. But don't worry if you haven't got a couple of grand to spare as the Lagavulin 12 Year Old makes its 12th annual appearance in the Special Release series and its price tag is a little more suited to everyday dramming at £80 a bottle.

Talisker, a favourite amongst whisky connoisseurs and always a popular bottling amongst the Diageo Special Releases. This years expression is a Talisker 27 Year Old bottling which was distilled in 1985 and carries a price tag of £475.

There are three bottlings from Speyside, an unusually mature example of Cardhu, Cardhu 21 Year Old 1991. A 28 year old bottling of The Singleton of Dufftown which is the first limited cask strength edition of The Singleton in the Special Release series. A very rare Convalmore 36 Year Old which ceased production in back 1985 which is limited to only 2,680 bottles.

And from the west coast of Scotland there is an Oban 21 Year Old which was matured in rejuvenated American Oak and a second fill in ex-Bodega casks. Another complex maturation regime lies behind the 8th release of the popular unpeated limited edition of Caol Ila which this year carries "No Age Statement" but instead has the subtitle "Stitchell Reserve" in honour of the long-serving distillery manager Billy Stitchell who is due to retire this year.

Then finally we have a couple of bottlings that will certainly be of interest to whisky connoisseurs and collectors, two very rare bottlings from two long-closed distilleries. A Port Ellen 34 Year Old which is the 13th and oldest oldest original distillery bottling ever released from the Port Ellen distillery. Then finally there is a Brora 35 Year Old, from casks filled in 1977 which I am told is a classic Brora that is sure to please Brora fans.

The ten Diageo 2013 Special Releases, select a whisky for more info and tasting notes:

  • Brora 35 Year Old 1977
    This rare Brora 35 year old is from Refill American Oak and European Oak casks filled in 1977. Limited to 2,944 bottles and bottled at a cask strength of 49.9% ABV. RRP £750.

     

  • Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve
    This is the 8th release of the popular unpeated limited edition of Caol Ila which this year carries "No Age Statement" but instead has the subtitle "Stitchell Reserve" in honour of distillery manager Billy Stitchell who is due to retire this year. A limited release from Refill American Oak, rejuvenated American Oak and ex-bodega European Oak casks but Diageo haven't declared how many bottles in the release. Bottled at a cask strength of 59.6% ABV. RRP £70.

     

  • Cardhu 21 Year Old 1991
    An unusually mature example of Cardhu at 21 years old. From Ex-bourbon American Oak casks filled in 1991. Limited to 6000 bottles and bottled at a cask strength of 54.2% ABV. RRP £160.

     

  • Convalmore 36 Year Old 1977
    A very rare 36 year old from the Convalmore distillery which ceased production in back 1985. From Refill European Oak casks filled in 1977. Limited to 2,680 bottles and bottled at a cask strength of 58% ABV. RRP £600

     

  • Lagavulin 12 Year Old
    The 12th release in a series of special 12 year old special releases from the original distiller’s stocks. A limited release but Diageo haven't declared how many bottles in the release. From Refill American Oak casks and bottled at a cask strength of 55.1% ABV. RRP £80.

     

  • Lagavulin 37 Year Old 1976
    Lagavulin 37 year old is the oldest expression of Lagavulin ever released by the distillers. From Refill American and European Oak casks filled in 1976. Limited to 1,868 bottles and bottled at a cask strength of 51% ABV. RRP £1,950

     

  • Oban 21 Year Old
    This Oban 21 year old was matured in  rejuvenated American Oak and a second fill ex-Bodega casks. Limited to 2,860 bottles and bottled at a cask strength of 58.5% ABV. RRP £225.

     

  • Port Ellen 34 Year Old 1978
    This increasingly rare Port Ellen whisky is from Refill American Oak and refill European Oak casks filled in 1978. Limited to 2,958 bottles and bottled at a cask strength of 55% ABV. RRP £1,500

     

  • The Singleton of Dufftown 28 Year Old 1985
    A 28 year old bottling of The Singleton of Dufftown which is the first limited cask strength edition of The Singleton in the Special Release series. From Refill American Oak casks filled in 1985. Limited to 3,816 bottles and bottled at a cask strength of 52.3% ABV. RRP £235.

     

  • Talisker 27 Year Old 1985
    This years expression is a 27 year old bottling from refill American Oak casks filled in 1985. Limited to 3,000 bottles and bottled at a cask strength of 56.1% ABV. RRP £475.
     

Nick Morgan, Diageo’s head of whisky outreach, commented:
"Stocks of Brora and Port Ellen are inexorably diminishing. Each year’s limited-edition bottling releases one more fragment of whisky history that is unique, and can’t ever be replaced. This puts Port Ellen and Brora in a different category from most other very old single malts - mainly from operating distilleries - that are on the market, often at very high prices. On top of that, Port Ellen and Brora are not merely rare, old and in great demand – they are judged by most qualified commentators to be of outstanding quality, and this year’s edition will be no exception.

"Indeed, many would accept that Port Ellen and Brora are among the world’s rarest Single Malt Whiskies still being released."
 

Where To Buy The Diageo Special Releases


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