Talisker 35YO part of Special Release rangeBy Andy Young
Every year Diageo announces a series of Special Release whiskies from famous and closed distilleries, and included in 2012’s range is a Talisker 35 year-old.
These hand crafted whiskies are almost always bottled at natural cask strength and Diageo says, “they show the purest evidence of each distillery’s craft”.
Arguably the pick of this year’s Special Releases is the Talisker 35 Year Old – the oldest whisky to be release by the Isle of Skye distillery.
Here’s a look through this year’s Diageo Special Releases:
Talisker 35 Year Old
This is the oldest limited release ever offered by the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. From American and European oak refill casks filled in 1977, just 3,090 54.6% abv bottles will be available worldwide at £525 RRP.
What they say: “On the palate this is fiery, yet rich and charged with lovely ripe autumn fruit and notes of moist fruitcake. It becomes sweeter with water as the top notes are softened.”
Lagavulin 21 Year Old
Just 2,772 bottles of this 52% abv single malt will be available and it is only the second 21 Year Old ever bottled by the original distillers. Vatted from first fill ex-sherry European oak casks each at least 21-years-old, filled in 1991, this will have a £350 RRP.
What they say: “Easy to drink at natural strength; smooth, rich and full- bodied [with] growing warmth and dryness. Finally sweet; perhaps baked apples, with creamy coffee and salted caramels.”
Lagavulin 12 Year Old
This is the eleventh in a series of special 12 Year Old releases from the original distiller’s stocks and is vatted from refill American oak casks, each at least 12-years-old. The whisky is available in limited quantities worldwide with a £71 RRP.
What they say: “The smoky sharpness is soon softened by smooth, sweet, vanilla custard with a fruity, cleansing tang. With water, a rich, sweet tangy creaminess and a comforting smoky closure.”
Auchroisk 30 Year Old
This 54.7% abv, natural cask strength single malt comes from an active Speyside distillery. Coming from a mix of American & European oak refill casks filled in 1982 there will be just 2,976 bottles worldwide going into specialist retailers only. The RRP is £230.
What they say: “On the palate initially cool, smooth and sweet then warming, with smoky charred fruit, as in a burnt fruit-cake.”
Brora 35 Year Old
Coming from a closed distillery on the Sutherland coast, this 48.1% abv, natural cask strength single malt is vatted from whiskies at least 35-years-old distilled in 1976 & 1977 and aged in refill American oak casks. Just 1,566 bottles will be made available worldwide, with a £400 RRP.
What they say: “Drinks well neat; a long, warming and smoothly smoke-scented finish, with a subtle cedar and frankincense spiciness.”
Port Ellen 32 Year Old
Port Ellen is a closed distillery on the Isle of Islay and just 2,964 bottles of this 52.5% abv single malt will be available. Vatted from refill American oak and refill European Oak casks filled in 1979 this whisky has a £600 RRP.
What they say: “Great wafts of warm wood-smoke introduce a barley-sugar sweet yet very juicy orange note. Add water, and it’s all more savoury, smoother and rounder. The body is very rich, full, mouth-filling and oily.”
Caol Ila 14 Year Old
A 59.3% abv, unpeated single malt, this whisky comes from a batch made only once a year for blending in the “Highland Style”. Coming from first fill ex-bodega European Oak casks filled in 1997 and with a RRP of £66, there will be 5,958 bottles made available.
What they say: “A faint early whiff of Caol Ila smoke soon fades edged away by a fruity sharpness. Water cools things and develops the flavour well.”
Dalwhinnie 25 Year Old
Dalwhinnie is one of the highest distilleries in Scotland and this 52.1% abv single malt is the first batch from rejuvenated American oak hogsheads. This is the latest of four limited releases to come from the distillery and 5,358 bottles will be made available with a £185 RRP.
What they say: “The trademark Dalwhinnie honeycomb is the keynote, with heather and natural moorland scents, then traces of cream soda.”