Next time you visit your local liquor store, you might have the opportunity to purchase a rare bottle of scotch. Diageo recently unveiled its 2018 Special Releases Collection, a limited-edition release of ten cask-strength offerings from Diageo-owned distilleries around Scotland, including several lesser-known and closed distilleries.
“The Special Releases launch is a highlight in ours and every whisky lovers calendar year,” the company said. “It’s a collection that allows both knowledgeable whisky fans and those new to Scotch to hunt out truly unique limited editions.”
Here’s an official rundown from Diageo of this year’s collection with some tasting notes as well as availability and pricing info. The collection is available at specialty retailers in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and selected Asian markets. Given the limited availability, especially those with only a few thousand bottles available, what you’re able to find near you may vary.
CAOL ILA UNPEATED 15-Year-Old
US SRP: $129 In Brief: Deep gold: mild nose, with the fruity sharpness of green apples and orange zest. Dense, firm and mild at first with a sweet, minty – salty taste, then a freezing heat and a long and warming finish.
ABV 59.1% Region: Islay Cask: Refill & Rejuvenated American Oak Hogsheads and Ex-Bodega European Oak Butts Limited quantities worldwide
CAOL ILA 35-Year-Old
US SRP: $989 In Brief: Antique gold color, floral and fruity on a fresh-clean, smoky base. Cooling and fluid, with a smooth texture. Starts sweetly and soon dries, with a rising peaty pungency and a spicy-sweet finish.
ABV 58.1% Region: Islay Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads & Refill European Oak Butts Number of bottles: 3,276
US SRP: $959 In Brief: A deep gold color with the delicate, light and balanced nose of a very old grain, then a rich texture, voluptuous mouthfeel and a big, soft , sweet, then gently spicy taste. Long finish.
ABV 43.2% Region: Lowlands Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads Number of bottles: 1,000
Only available to order via www.thewhiskyexchange.com, GB SRP: £155 In Brief: Full gold, with a series of coastal aromas that a dash of water brings together superbly; the palate and finish are equally flawless. A whisky that is the very essence of a coastal malt.
ABV 57.1% Region: Coastal Cask: First Fill American Oak ex-Bourbon casks, Refill American Oak Hogsheads, Refill European Oak Butts, Ex Bodega European Oak Butts Limited availability worldwide
US SRP: $359 In Brief: Full yellow gold, a complex and surprising malt from a little known yet historic distillery that has retained the distillery character well; nutty and spicy, it is vivacious for its twenty-seven years.
ABV 55.3% Region: Speyside Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads Number of bottles: 8,544
US SRP: $139 In Brief: A vast palette of aromas and flavors awaits, wherever you look on the nose and the palate. Sweet, oily, and salty, then vinegar-dry and drying.
ABV 57.8% Region: Islay Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads. Limited quantities available worldwide.
US SRP: $549 In Brief: Dramatic, brooding and compressed, the nose spans a whole range of senses as it shows malt, fruit, oak, peat and sea-air. The taste is intense and sweet, with some saltiness.
ABV 57.9% Region: Highlands Cask: Refill European Oak Butts. Limited availability worldwide.
US SRP: $419 In Brief: It takes time to appreciate the full impact of this appetisingly pithy, charred, occasionally sweet Pittyvaich, which is at one and the same time straightforward, yet also full- flavored and forceful, with a long finish and a late, drying, bracing quality.
ABV 52.1% Region: Speyside Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads Number of bottles: 4,680
THE SINGLETON GLEN ORD 14-Year-Old
Only available to order via www.thewhiskyexchange.com, GB SRP: £100
In Brief: A classic The Singleton Glen Ord with heightened signature aromas of baked apple and sweet orange fruit, beeswax and spice. Smooth and sumptuous too, on a palate rich in mature fruit notes.
ABV 57.6% Region: Highlands Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads and Ex-Bodega European Oak butts followed by a unique maturation and marrying process. Limited quantities available worldwide
Only available to order via www.thewhiskyexchange.com, GB SRP: £70 In Brief: Detailed at natural strength, this fine Talisker is smooth, lengthy, integrated and precisely balanced throughout, with a sweet and youthful assuredness.
ABV 59.4% Region: Island Cask: First fill Ex-Bourbon American Oak Hogsheads. Limited availability worldwide
“The exceptional variety and quality of whiskies in this year’s collection will not disappoint,” Diageo said. “And we’re looking forward to sharing all of the stories behind the bottles.”