Diageo unveils 2018 special release rare whiskies

Diageo has announced the forthcoming release of nine rare and limited edition whiskies that will be released this autumn as part of its annual Special Releases collection, with the tenth yet to be unveiled.

Diageo has announced the release of nine rare bottlings, with a tenth to be unveiled later in the year

The collection encompasses some of the rarest and oldest whiskies from classic, lesser-known and often closed distilleries, with each representing a “fragment of Scotch Whisky history”.

The limited edition natural cask strength bottlings are meticulously selected each year by the blending team, to form a rare and sought after collection.

This year, the selection includes a 48-year-old whisky from Carsebridge, which was founded in the 1700s by John Bald in Alloa and which ultimately closed in 1983.

Initially a malt whisky, it later switched to the production of grain whisky. Much of the distillery has since been demolished with bottlings increasingly scarce.

Other bottlings include a 35 year old malt from Caol Ila on Islay and a 28-year-old from Pittyvaich, which was was established by Arthur Bell & Sons in Dufftown in 1975 and closed in 1993 while still in its teens.

Notably, for the first time since the special release collection was launched in 2001, whiskies from neither Port Ellen and Brora distilleries are not included in the range.

Port Ellen and Brora are among the rarest single malt whiskies still being released and will continue to be available for purchase as annual bottlings outside of the collection.

This move follows the news of the re-opening of the Port Ellen and Brora distilleries, Diageo said in a release.

“The Special Releases launch is a highlight in our whisky calendar year,” said Donald Colville, Diageo’s global malts ambassador. “It’s a collection that allows both knowledgeable whisky fans and those new to Scotch to hunt out truly unique limited editions.

“The range delivers memorable taste experiences unlike any other and the exceptional variety and quality of whiskies in this year’s collection will not disappoint.”

The malts will be available from autumn 2018 from specialist retailers in Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and selected Asian markets, with RRP’s set to be announced later in the year.

The final tenth bottling will be revealed later in the year.

Below is a full lineup of the first nine releases:-

CARSEBRIDGE 48 year old
ABV 43.2%
Region: Lowlands
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads.
No. of bottles: 1,000

ABV 59.1%
Region: Islay
Cask: Refill and rejuvenated American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts

CAOL ILA 35 year old
ABV 58.1%
Region: Islay
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads and refill European oak butts.
No of bottles: 3,276

INCHGOWER 27 year old
ABV 55.3%
Region: Speyside
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads
No of bottles: 8,544

LAGAVULIN 12 year old
ABV 57.8%
Region: Islay
Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads.

OBAN 21 year old
ABV 57.9%
Region: Highlands
Cask: Refill European oak butts.

PITTYVAICH 28 year old
ABV 52.1%
Region: Speyside
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads.
No of bottles: 4,680

ABV 57.6%
Region: Highlands
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts followed by a unique maturation and marrying process.

TALISKER 8 year old
ABV 59.4%
Region: Island
Cask: First fill ex-bourbon American oak hogsheads.

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