Diageo Special Releases 2016 is revealed

Laura Foster

Laura Foster

14 September 2016

Brace yourselves, whisky lovers, for a whole batch of rare, expensive whiskies are set to be launched: the Diageo Special Releases 2016 collection has been revealed, and Imbibe was granted a special preview tasting.

This marks the 15th year of the Special Releases, and the new collection of 10 whiskies range from no-age-statement (Cragganmore) through to a 40-year-old single grain from Cambus distillery by way of a Port Ellen 37yo.

The latter is the oldest ever release from the revered Islay distillery that was mothballed in 1983. Two others, the Glenkinchie 24yo and Brora 38yo are the oldest whiskies ever released from those distilleries in the Diageo Special Releases range.

The Brora – yet another distillery that closed in 1983 – is a particular standout in the collection, with sweet fudge, peach and lychee notes overlaid with a hint of wood smoke drifting in on the breeze. This gentle smoke continues on the palate, mingling with those fruits and a touch of carbon, plus some pistachio and heather character and a smattering of anise.

The Cragganmore 'flavour-led' expression has an intriguing nose akin to calvados, with glace cherries and an oaky character all prevalent. Tasting reveals a rich, aromatic dram that fills your olfactory system upon tasting. Spice-tinged strawberries and raspberries are served up with a side of maple-covered bacon before some cereal character comes through on the finish.

The Mannochmore 25yo, meanwhile, is the latest release from a cask experiment that's been going on since 1994. Aged in a combination of first-fill oak, European oak and new bourbon casks that have been 'treated differently' the resulting whisky is relatively sweet, with flavours of flapjack honey, overripe banana, blackcurrant and vanilla creme patisserie. Adding water enhances the nutty characters (Crunchie Nut Cornflakes, almonds and hazelnuts) in this dram.

'The unveiling of the Special Releases range is a moment I look forward to year after year,' said Dr Nick Morgan, head of whisky outreach at Diageo. 'The variety and quality of whiskies in the collection in simply fantastic, and once again we're confident enthusiasts will discover new favourites in unusual and rare releases, such as the Mannochmore 25yo, aged in rejuvenated casks and a smooth-textured, complex whisky.'

For a full list of all the whiskies and their availability, take a look at the list below.

The Diageo Special Releases 2016 in full:

Auchroisk 25yo, 51.2% abv, £280
Distilled 1990
Availability: 3,954 bottles worldwide

Brora 38yo, 48.6% abv, £1,450
Distilled 1977
Availability: 2,984 bottles worldwide

Cambus 40yo, 52.7% abv, £750
Distilled 1975
Availability: 1,812 bottles worldwide

Caol Ila 15yo, 61.5% abv, £90
Distilled 2000
Availability: Limited quantities worldwide

Cragganmore (NAS), 55.7% abv, £400
Availability: 4,932 bottles worldwide

Glenkinchie 24yo, 57.2% abv, £300
Distilled 1991
Availability: 5,928 bottles worldwide

Lagavulin 12yo, 57.7% abv, £80
Availability: Limited quantities worldwide

Linkwood 37yo, 50.3% abv, £600
Distilled 1978
Availability: 6,114 bottles worldwide

Mannochmore 25yo, 53.4% abv, £250
Distilled 1990
Availability: 3,954 bottles worldwide

Port Ellen 37yo, 55.2% abv, £2,500
Distilled 1978
Availability: 2,940 bottles worldwide

Diageo, 020 8978 6000

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