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.
Mortlach 13Yo Special Release 2021
Matured in sherry and virgin oak casks.
The nose brims with malted grains, caramel and sweet nuts. There is a hint of marzipan and candy floss with a lovely floral note throughout.
The palate brings in notes of vanilla, oak wood and more caramel. Dried fruits, oat biscuits and more malted grains appear. There is a hint of dark chocolate and citrus fruits. Orchard fruits give it a slightly refreshing feel.
The finish is full of oak wood, vanilla and apples.
Lagavulin 26Yo Special Release 2021
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.
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.
Oban 12Yo Special Release 2021
Matured in American oak casks that have been recharred as well as ex-Bourbon casks.
The nose is brimming with orchard notes and cinder toffee sweetness. It is mouthwateringly inviting. Citrus fruits round off alongside oak wood and caramel.
The palate is sweet and full of butterscotch, apples and pears. Oak wood and cinnamon come through with a lovely heat. Clementines and more citrus notes give it a lovely warming feel. Caramel with slightly salty hints also appear.
The finish is smooth and mellow with lots of caramel and cinnamon spice.