Since 2001 Diageo’s annual special releases have offered up some of the most anticipated, hyped and desirable bottlings of any given year. It’s hardly surprising when you consider the featuring of such legendary names as Brora and Port Ellen, alongside unusual examples from much loved distilleries like Lagavulin or Talisker. It’s a set of bottings that has always excited drinkers, collectors and speculators alike though admittedly, by virtue of rising prices, the range now leans toward the latter.
This year sees the continued inclusion of the usually excellent 12 year old Lagavulin and the curious unpeated Caol Ila. Talisker is also represented once more, but this year sees the introduction of a 35 year old bottling rather than the more familiar 25 or 30. There’s another hugely desirable Port Ellen of course, and a 35 year old Brora –perhaps one of the last?-, both of which are sure to disappear in double quick time, even while sporting the highest retail prices yet. This year’s less predictable bottlings come in the form of a 25 year old Dalwhinnie, a sherried 30 year old from the rarely encountered Auchroisk and the re-introduction of the revered 21 year old Lagavulin.