Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Diageo Special Releases 2012

Around this time each year, there is always a ripple of anticipation around the whisky industry as they wait to see what Diageo, the multi national drinks company, 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 for this year, as they have announced the eight whiskies that will make up the 2012 Special Releases collection, which is due for release in October.  This year's selection of whiskies (pictured, above) are 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 ...

Auchroisk 30 years old
This is the oldest ever release from this little known Speyside distillery.  It has been matured in a mix of re-fill ex-bourbon American oak and ex-sherry European oak casks.  There are just 2,976 bottles available with a natural strength of 54.7% ABV and a cost of £230 each.

Brora 35 years old
Stocks of single malt from this closed north Highland distillery are now very low and this is the oldest release to date.  Matured in re-fill ex-bourbon American oak casks, this is bottled at 48.1% ABV and there are just 1,566 bottles at a recommended retail price of £400 each.

Caol Ila 14 years old
Caol Ila is known for its peaty, smoky style of whisky but once a year they produce a small batch of unpeated spirit.  This unpeated spirit has featured in previous Special Releases and has built up a cult following.  This version is the oldest released to date and the first to have been matured in ex-sherry casks.  There are just 5,958 bottles, the strength is a hefty 59.3% ABV and the price is £66.

Dalwhinnie 25 years old
Older versions of this popular central Highland distillery are few and far between.  This expression has been matured in ex-bourbon American oak hogshead casks and there are just 5,358 bottles available.  The alcohol strength is 52.1% ABV and a bottle will cost £185.

Lagavulin 12 years old
The iconic Islay distillery is one of Diageo's best known and this 12 years old cask strength version has been a stalwart of the Special Releases programme.  This year's version has a strength of 56.1% ABV and has been matured in ex-bourbon American oak casks.  A bottle will cost £71 and the press releases only states 'limited numbers' rather than an actual figure.

Lagavulin 21 years old
The other release from Lagavulin is only the second of this age from the distillery- the first has gone down in whisky folklore.  This whisky has been matured in first fill ex-sherry European oak casks and has a strength of 52% ABV.  There are just 2,772 bottles and they have a recommended price of £350 each.

Port Ellen 32 years old
Stock from this fabled Islay distillery have almost run dry.  This version has been matured in a combination of re-fill ex-bourbon American oak and ex-sherry European oak casks.  It has a natural cask strength of 52.5% ABV and there are just 2,964 available.  The recommended price is £600. Port Ellen releases in this series are always the first to be snapped up ... and this one will be no different.

Talisker 35 years old
Older versions of single malt from this distillery on the isle of Skye have featured before in the programme, but never one of this age.  Despite the age, it still has a high strength of 54.6% ABV and has been matured in a combination of re-fill ex-bourbon American oak and ex-sherry European oak casks.  There are just 3,090 bottles which will retail for £525 each.


Unknown said...

Port Ellen £300 more than last year and still a release of 3000 bottles,Out of my price range this time, anyone got any recommendations?

Jonathanw said...

IF money were no object I would want the pe, the Brora, the lagavulin, and the Talisker... However as is I am going to try to scrape the money up for the Brora and possibly the Lagavulin

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard a definite release date on these?

Anonymous said...

As a new whisky fan, where can I buy this stuff???

Anonymous said...

This is the prove that the decision makers at Diageo have completely gone insane. Especially the price of the PE. Diageo has no love for whisky, only for cashing money.