Diageo reveals 2020 Special Releases of rare single malt scotch whiskies

Diageo 2020 Special Releases rare single malt scotch whisky collection

As the world remains gripped in a global pandemic, there is still one thing we can depend on: Diageo’s annual collection of Special Releases from its single malt scotch whisky reserves. For 2020, master blender Dr Craig Wilson has selected eight cask-strength whiskies drawn from some of Scotland’s most interesting distilleries, including one that is long gone.

Once again, the Special Releases offer a chance to explore unusual age points and experimental maturation techniques. It includes Diageo’s first-ever whisky finished in casks that formerly held Caribbean pot-still rum: an eight-year-old single malt at 57.9% ABV from Talisker on the Isle of Skye.

The collection also includes a 30-year-old from the “ghost” distillery of Pittyvaich on Speyside, finished in first-fill ex-bourbon casks and bottled at 50.8% ABV. The distillery closed in 1993.

There is also a 30-year-old Highland whisky from Dalwhinnie, matured in refill hogshead casks that were filled in 1989. It has been bottled at 51.9% ABV.

The collection features three other Speyside single malts: Cardhu 11-Year-Old from refill, new and ex-bourbon American oak casks, at 56% ABV; Cragganmore 20-Year-Old, from refill casks and new fresh-charred casks, at 55.8% ABV; and Mortlach 21-Year-Old from Pedro Ximénez and oloroso sherry-seasoned casks, at 56.9% ABV.

The other releases are Lagavulin 12-Year-Old from Islay, from refill American oak casks, at 56.4% ABV and The Singleton of Dufftown 17-Year-Old, from Highland, matured only in refill American oak hogsheads, at 55.1% ABV.

The launch is inspired by the globally celebrated theme of “Rare by Nature”. Each bottle features intricate illustrations that bring to visual life the nature that surrounds each distillery.

Wilson said: “I’ve created this year’s Special Releases Collection from some of my favourite distilleries across Scotland, with whisky enthusiasts in mind.  

“For those who enjoy spicy flavours, my recommendation would be to try our Cardhu, and for those who favour rich, intense and smooth flavours my choice would be Mortlach 21-Year-Old. 

“If you are curious about discovering something very rare, the Pittyvaich – the single ghost distillery in our Special Releases Collection this year – is an unforgettable dram.”

The 2020 Special Releases collection will be available in limited quantities from specialist whisky retailers and malts.com this autumn.

Cardhu 11-Year-Old
ABV: 56%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From refill, new, and ex-bourbon American oak
Limited quantities worldwide
Recommended retail price: £85

Cragganmore 20-Year-Old
ABV: 55.8%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From refill casks and new fresh-charred casks
Limited quantities worldwide
Recommended retail price: £130

Dalwhinnie 30-Year-Old
ABV: 51.9%
Region:  Highland
Cask: From refill hogsheads
Number of bottles available: 6,978
Recommended retail price: £550

Lagavulin 12-Year-Old
ABV: 56.4%
Region: Islay
Cask: From refill American oak casks
Limited quantities worldwide  
Recommended retail price: £125

Mortlach 21-Year-Old
ABV: 56.9%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From Pedro Ximenez and oloroso sherry seasoned casks
Number of bottles available: 7,692
Recommended retail price: £575

Pittyvaich 30-Year-Old
ABV: 50.8%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From first fill ex-bourbon casks
Number of bottles available: 7,056
Recommended retail price: £400

Talisker 8-Year-Old
ABV: 57.9%
Region: Isle of Skye
Cask: From pot-still Caribbean rum casks
Limited quantities worldwide
Recommended retail price: £90

The Singleton of Dufftown 17-Year-Old
ABV: 55.1%
Region: Highland
Cask: Matured only in refill American oak hogsheads
Limited quantities worldwide  
Recommended retail price: £110

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