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.
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 12Yo Special Release 2021
The nose opens with a blanket of peaty malt, where the sweet, mellow tones of caramel biscuits are imbued in marine notes with medicinal and smoky streaks. Green apple and lemon zest creep in among the aromas, lightening their weight, with mineral impressions that intensify over time, amplifying the coastal imprint of the distillate. Full-bodied Islay.
In the mouth it unleashes a sparkling peppery note of ginger that anticipates a creamy and quite oily body, where the fruity hints grow (again apple with pineapple, citrus, plum) crowded by even more maritime impressions, where salt and iodine dive on the burning embers. Pickled olives and lemon at length, with a touch of oyster.
The finish is long and very salty, dry, of ash, apple, lemon and malt biscuits.
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.