As discussed in my last post, this year’s reviews of the Diageo Special Releases takes a slightly different slant – knowing I was off to New York City and going to be meeting up with some of the #whiskyfabric, I decided to take a few of the samples I received along with me so I could receive collective input on them from some big whisky lovers.
I couldn’t, however, take them all with me partly because a) I didn’t know if we’d get through them all and b) I was hedging my bets in case my luggage got lost. As such, some were reviewed by just me, myself and I while still here in London.
As background, these whiskies make up a yearly collection from both open and closed distilleries owned by drinks giant Diageo. I’ve written about them previously (you can check those posts out here) and there is no doubt that the releases split people down the middle. Why? Because of the pricing – that never-ending debate in the world of whisky right now around when is something priced too high for its own good…
This year’s collection of 11 Special Releases ranges from £75 through to £2,200, making it a tricky one to review for me: after all, I know a lot of people won’t get to try all of these, but I equally am keen to put out my thoughts on them on the off-chance you do come across a one and are curious if it is worth your money investing in either a full bottle, a dram or neither.
In some ways, I definitely see the point of people who say they’re getting too pricy – after all, back in 2011 the Brora 30 [...]
At a recent tasting at Milroy’s of Soho on Greek Street in London, I was lucky enough to try a few tasty drams and listen to some great chat from Colin Dunn, brand ambassador for Diageo. He was there to promote the release of this year’s best drams from the global giant.
I have given each my honest opinion but if you have given any of these drams a go, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below this page.
This 21-year old single malt comes from some of the oldest stocks still available from the Rosebank Distillery, which closed down in the 1980s. It has been matured in American and European oak casks, and comes out at a comfortably strong 53.8% ABV.
I found the whisky to be supremely delicate on both the colour and the nose. It was full of roses and floral notes. It was light in the glass and on the taste buds and really opened up after about eight or nine seconds in the mouth. The finish was fairly sweet, with a hint of the flavour of bread. There was not too much kick on the aftertaste and was surprisingly clean, given it gave way to sweeter flavours throughout.
All in all, it was delightful whisky and I was very surprised that one coming in at nearly 54% could be so delicate. It retails at £159.
Coal Ila 12-year-old:
This un-peated 12-year-old is a big, bold, bourbon-cask baby, coming in at a super-strength of 64%. There are only 6,000 bottles of this rich and flavourful whisky, and it is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
The nose is all indulgence: sweet, creamy, salty-caramel and hints [...]