This is one of the most impressive malts in the Special Releases series and has been matured in first fill Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.
The nose is spicy and sweet, with lots of sherry notes. Fruit flavours waft through, with big notes of raisins, apples and citrus notes.
The palate is warming and smooth with big notes of peat smoke and seaside flavours. Exotic fruits add a lovely zest to the peat. Cinnamon and nutmeg bring in a bit of warmth alongside chewy dried fruits.
The finish is full of peat and fruit and lingers on spice.
Talisker 18YO Special Release
Rich and fruity – Victoria plums, greengages, perhaps dried orange peel – with some butterscotch or rum toffee and a thread of smoke behind. The smoke soon advances into the foreground and the toffee note is joined by a light mintiness. With water maritime characteristics emerge – dry boat varnish, edible seaweed. Still sweet; now with notes of iodine and the smokiness of an un-struck match.
Full. Pleasant, smooth.
Sweet in front, then more assertive, with a whiff of smoke. The overall effect is warming. The development is towards smoke, coal-tar and toffee.
Medium length. Talisker’s characteristic chilli ‘catch’ in the finish is subtly present in the aftertaste.
Royal Lochnagar 16Yo Special Release 2021
This Royal Lochnagar has been matured with both sherry and bourbon casks.
The nose begins with big notes of orchard fruits, fresh cut grass and lots of florals. It is very aromatic and has white fruits and blossom alongside white sugar and oak wood.
The palate is rich and elegant, with notes of dried fruits, sherry spice and apples. Sweet nuts, oak wood and delicate florals appear. Vanilla cake with frosting adds a lovely sweetness. The oak is full of vanilla notes and recalls the orchard flavours in the nose.
The finish is mellow and sweet, with more floral hints and a lovely vanilla finish.
The Special Releases series is always looked forward to by Diageo fans. It spans such a wide variety of distilleries and flavour profiles that it has something for everyone while at the same time being high quality. This year’s offerings are enhanced even more with the addition of beautiful artworks and the stories that go along with them.
Cardhu 14YO Special Release 2021
Flowers and fruit emerge from the glass to caress the nostrils, with a thick blanket of malt wrapped in freshly cut grass accompanied by linden, green apple, pineapple, banana, vanilla, honey. Gooseberry and wild strawberry vein the aromas, which at length reveal a faint trace of propolis. Fresh.
A pleasant pepperiness welcomes the palate that reaffirms its herbaceous nature, even more pronounced, with notes of unripe fruit (apple, especially) that intertwine with malt and almond with impressions of grapefruit, pine nuts and a vague hint of vanilla. Astringency seems to be the only note offered by wine aging.
Finish not very long and dry, of almond, veins of anise, malt, apple.
A not exalting but pleasing bouquet is not supported by the palate, which turns out to be pretty flat and not very interesting, reiterating the impressions I have found so far in the (few) expressions I tried of Cardhu.
Talisker 8Yo Special Release 2021
This Talisker 8 Year Old has been matured in peated refill casks.
The nose begins with some lovely peated notes and a wonderful hint of orchard fruit Sea air and brine also appears.
The palate has lots more peat smoke, which combines well with the seaside flavours. Herbal notes of heather and moss come through, with sweet caramel and chocolate as well. It is very smooth and has a wonderful star of anise spice throughout.
The finish is bold and full of sea salt, brine and peat smoke.