Diageo Special Releases 2019
Once again the time of year has come where Diageo launch their Special Releases.
Let’s have a look at them with my thoughts on the range…
Cardhu 14 Years Old – 55% abv
Colour: Warmly golden.
Nose: Nutty with sherry and oils obvious.
Palate: Very warming with sherry nuttiness coming forward.
Finish: Long and white peppery.
Thoughts: A fairly well balanced session dram that many totally loved, but possibly a little too much bite for me, although water helps to smooth it and bring out some fruiter notes.
Cragganmore 12 Years Old – 58.4% abv
Colour: Straw gold.
Nose: Unmissable earthy peaty malt, gentle, slightly muddy.
Palate: Lighter than imagined, but oily with lovely peaty hints. The abv bites a little after a while, water helps a touch.
Finish: Spicy and long, but light and dances on your palate for a good while longer.
Thoughts: Lightly peated, for the first time, half unpeated malt and half peated malt with peat from the west cost (same maltings as Talisker). I really really wanted to love this malt, but for me it just fell a little short of love, not sure why. It’s good.
Dalwhinnie 30 Years Old – 54.7% abv
Colour: Ripe barley, golden.
Nose: Opens up after a moment in the glass to tones of damp wood, dunnage floors, ripe lemon, and back notes of ripe grain. Lovely old style nose.
Palate: Gently spiced, old and fabulous. It’s so good I have very little in the way of other notes!
Finish: Long and fairly spicy, but in a good way, it suited my palate perfectly.
Thoughts: I love this dram a lot, on reflection it was probably my favourite for the whole release, a great old style dram of the sort you don’t find easily thesedays.
Lagavulin 12 Years Old – 56.5% abv
Colour: Light golden.
Nose: Gentle barley with mossy peat, Lagavulin at its best.
Palate: Easy for the abv, mossy, punchy, bassy and awesome. Plenty of distillery character left, enhanced by the casks (rather than masked).
Finish: Long, gentle spice, mossy peat and burning embers.
Thoughts: My other favourite dram of the evening, fabulous expression of a Lagavulin, and my favourite Special Release of it for many years… I also loved the label, just something slightly different for a Laga.
Mortlach 26 Years Old – 53.3% abv
Colour: Deep and dark, sherry bomb cola.
Nose: Dunnage warehouse damp wood balanced with dark sugary raisins.
Palate: Sweet with sherry fruits, very very sipable old giant of a whisky.
Finish: Slightly dry with tannins at end of what is a long sweet and old finish.
Thoughts: Yummy, if you like sherried drams then you’ll love this, but you wont love the price, and you might find better for less elsewhere, just saying.
Pittyvaich 29 Years Old – 51.4% abv
Colour: Light gold, full ripe barley.
Nose: Fairly old nose, lightly fruity with oily hints of farmyard barley.
Palate: More spicy than the Dalwhinnie, but more oily and thicker on your tongue.
Finish: Spicy at first, but quickly dies sown so that it becomes long and complex.
Thoughts: It’s definitely along the same lines as the Dalwhinnie, and I like It a lot, but not quite as much.
Talisker 15 Years Old – 57.3% abv
Colour: Orangey golden.
Nose: Lighter peat on the nose than maybe I expected, maybe time in the glass would help open it up.
Palate: Punchy white pepper, with a smoothness that underlines it.
Finish: Long with fruity tones coming out more at this point.
Thoughts: Nice, more gentle than expected, but full of vigour and oils. Others trying to compare this to last years 8yo had a hard time deciding which was best, with the 8yo probably pipping it.
The Singleton of Glen Ord 18 Years Old – 55% abv
Colour: Light barley gold,
Nose: Toffee apples, but light and easy.
Palate: Slightly grippy, in a good way, toffee apples and cream.
Finish: Grassy and malty, fairly long and warm.
Thoughts: We started on this whisky, and I ran out of time to go back to it which is unfortunate. However my overall thoughts on it were that it was a lovely, light, fruity dram that really benefitted from the full abv and oils. Nice to see what’s a fairly unavailable whisky (in the UK) being presented well.
Many thanks to Diageo for the invite along to the launch!