Following Diageo’s announcement earlier today (16 January) of the investment at Clynelish Distillery, Glen Ord is now seeing the delivery and installation of new stills as part of the £25 million expansion plan for the distillery, which is seeing its capacity doubled to over 10 million litres per annum.  The 10 new washbacks and 6 new stills will be housed in existing buildings at the distillery.

Diageo New Stills for Glen Ord_1601_0178_lores Diageo New Stills for Glen Ord_1601_0182_lores Diageo New Stills for Glen Ord_1601_0235_lores

Diageo is also doubling the capacity at the Teaninich Distillery in Alness and is progressing plans to build a new malt whisky distillery and renewable energy plant on land adjacent to Teaninich.

In total these projects represent a capital investment of nearly £150 million across the Highland Council area.

Posted in Diageo, Whisky


Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business, has today announced plans for a £30million expansion of its Clynelish Distillery in Sutherland, in the North-East of Scotland.

In the latest major milestone in Diageo’s £1billion programme to increase Scotch whisky production, plans have been submitted to Highland Council for the major expansion of Diageo’s most northerly Scotch whisky distillery.

Clynelish Distillery

Clynelish Distillery

The Clynelish expansion will take the on-going capital investment by Diageo in the Highland Council region alone to almost £150million, including major expansions at Glen Ord and Teaninich Distilleries and plans to build a new distillery at Alness.

Keith Miller, Diageo Director of Distillation and Maturation, said:

“The plan to expand Clynelish Distillery is another major milestone in Diageo’s £1billion investment to increase Scotch whisky production capacity to help meet the future growth in global demand for our brands.

“Clynelish is a very special distillery, producing spirit which is highly prized for its quality and character and is an important part of our Scotch whisky blending inventory, so this is an important part of our investment programme.”

Clynelish Distillery produces single malt whisky unique in both taste and texture which is highly prized by Diageo’s master blenders for use in world-leading Scotch whisky brands such as Johnnie Walker. Clynelish is also a highly regarded as a single malt whisky in its own right. The distillery is also home to one of Diageo’s 12 distillery visitor centres, welcoming more than 5,000 visitors each year. Clynelish is near the Sutherland town of Brora.

Doubling production capacity

Under the plans submitted, Clynelish Distillery will see the installation of an additional mashtun,  10 new washbacks and six new copper stills. This adds to the 10 washbacks and six stills which the distillery currently has, and will effectively double the production capacity to nine million litres of alcohol per annum, whilst retaining the unique character and quality of the spirit. A bio-energy plant is also planned for the site to provide non-fossil fuel energy to power the distillery.

As part of the planning process Diageo will hold a community engagement session in February to share further details of the Clynelish proposals with the local community.

Diageo announced its £1billion Scotch whisky investment programme in June 2012. As well as the distillery expansions the company is also investing in new warehousing to store the additional spirit, with a major new bonded warehouse site being developed at Cluny in Fife.

Expansion at Glen Ord too

The Clynelish announcement comes as six new copper stills were delivered to the Glen Ord Distillery as part of the £25million expansion plan which is doubling the size of that distillery to over 10million litres per annum. Diageo is also doubling the capacity at the Teaninich Distillery in Alness and is progressing plans to build a new malt whisky distillery and renewable energy plant on land adjacent to Teaninich. In total these projects represent a capital investment of nearly £150million across the Highland Council area.

Posted in Clynelish, Uncategorized, Whisky


Brits Mike Burton and Tom Salt (Locura Rows the Atlantic) have beaten 15 international teams to win the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the world’s toughest rowing race.  They completed the gruelling 3,000 mile race from La Gomera, Canary Islands, to Antigua in 41 days, 2 hours and 38 minutes.

Rowing in shifts of two hours on, two hours off, 53-year-old Mike and 30-year-old Tom, who make up team Locura Rows The Atlantic, competed in the arduous race to raise money for the Generous Hearts Foundation.

Photo credit Ben Duffy

Tom Salt celebrates winning the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

Rower Tom comments on their win: “Mike and I are absolutely ecstatic to have won the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge! We’re no strangers to extreme challenges, but this is definitely the hardest thing we’ve ever done and pushed us to new limits both physically and mentally. We will be celebrating this evening with our friends and family – and the burger we have been dreaming about since day one!”

Talisker Brand Manager Sophie Brookes comments: “The 2013/14 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge has definitely been living up to its name as the world’s toughest rowing race – the weather has been particularly tough for our teams this year, with an enormous storm hitting the fleet within a few days of the race beginning. Talisker is made by the on the rugged Isle of Skye in Scotland; at times it can mirror the conditions the rowers are facing. Mike and Tom have shown great determination since day one and we would like to congratulate them on their phenomenal win on behalf of everyone at Talisker.”

The team have battled 40ft waves, tropical storms, seasickness, sleep deprivation, excruciating body sores, a capsize and even an encounter with a six-metre marlin which left a small hole in their boat.

Mike from Yorkshire met Tom, originally from Chichester and now living in London, in 2010 when they competed in the same crew of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race where they finished in fourth place. Tom’s also completed seven marathons and Mike regularly skydives.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge saw 16 teams from around the world start the race on the 4th December 2013 from La Gomera in the Canary Islands. With two teams airlifted to safety following capsizes and one team rescued by a passing Bulk-carrier ship, only 13 teams are still competing to finish the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Follow the progress of all of the teams by visiting

Posted in Atlantic Challenge, Talisker


Diageo is pleased to announce that Georgie Bell, currently Global Ambassador for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, will join Diageo in January 2014 as a global brand ambassador focusing on the promotion of its new range of Mortlach Single Malt Scotch Whiskies (@mortlachwhiskies #mortlach), which will be launched next year (2014).

Ewan Gunn, Global Scotch Whisky Ambassador at Diageo, said: “We are all delighted that Georgie, with her extensive knowledge of the production, marketing and communications sides of the Scotch whisky industry, has agreed to join us and support our significant new initiative for Mortlach. In her short time as roving brand ambassador at the SMWS, Georgie has made a huge impact on the whisky world, engaging influencers and consumers in many key global markets, and deploying her knowledge, energy, passion and experience of the luxury spirits sector to promote Scotch whisky. She will have a key role to play, alongside our other Global Brand Ambassadors, in the promotion of Mortlach.”

Diageo announced in November that it planned to make four new  expressions of the highly complex and richly flavoured Mortlach™ Single Malt Scotch Whisky, distilled in Dufftown since 1823, available in the global travel and luxury connoisseur markets from mid-2014. The doubling of capacity at Mortlach Distillery, involving the exact replication of the existing stillhouse, was announced in April 2013.

Georgie Bell studied at the University of Edinburgh. In 2012 the Worshipful Company of Distillers granted her their International Award for the Fundamentals in Distilling Course, and she was granted Freedom of the Company in 2013. Georgie also holds a Diploma in Distillation from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling.


Posted in Diageo, Mortlach, Whisky


Diageo have announced a series of limited edition single malt Scotch Whiskies available exclusively to the Friends of the Classic Malts™.

Five different single malts will be released at intervals over the next 6 months, throughout UK, Germany and Switzerland.

The first releases, in December 2013 will be editions of Royal Lochnagar and Talisker. Three more single malts will be issued between January and June 2014: a further announcement with details of these releases will follow in January.

The distinctive feature of all the five malts in this rare and unusual series is that, in order to develop a whisky with a distinctive and complex profile that will intrigue the discerning connoisseurs among the Friends of the Classic Malts, they have been matured in a totally different way from the familiar Classic Malts Bottlings  – and different also from the Distillers Editions of the same single malts.

Triple matured

The single malts in these special Friends’ bottlings have all been triple matured. Their initial maturation has been, conventionally, in refill casks. Next the liquids were transferred to charred American oak hogsheads, imparting spicy notes and a touch of sweet oak. To complete the conversation between spirit and oak, the whiskies enjoyed a third maturation in European Oak refill casks which softened, mellowed and integrated the aromas and flavours. Finally the whiskies were bottled at a generous 48% ABV.

Royal Lochnagar exclusive for Friends of the Classic Malts

Royal Lochnagar exclusive for Friends of the Classic Malts


Talisker exclusive for Friends of the Classic Malts

Exclusive reward

Only a few thousand bottles of each expression are being produced: no more than 24,000 bottles are available in total across the five editions, and via online retailers and at Distilleries.

“These are truly special whiskies which we are proud to offer as an exclusive reward to our loyal members of Friends of the Classic Malts”, said Julien LeBescond, Diageo’s Senior Brand Manager for Scotch Single Malts for in Western Europe. “We greatly value their support and enthusiasm, and we’re confident that they will enjoy these exciting and unique liquids which we asked our master blenders to prepare just for them.”

Limited and exclusive distribution for Friends

These limited editions are being made available in selected Western European markets and via online retailers exclusively to members of the Friends of the Classic Malts so a true reward for loyalty.

In addition, bottles will be available for purchase by personal visitors to the relevant distillery – though again, only to signed-up members of Friends of the Classic Malts, or to visitors who join during their visit. Whether purchased online or at the distillery, the bottles are priced at £80 and the equivalent in Euros, and sales are limited to two bottles per customer.

Friends of the Classic Malts

See Friends of the Classic Malts on Facebook:

And on the Classic Malts website.

An ever-growing number of whisky enthusiasts sign up as members of the Friends of the Classic Malts  –  a community of Single Malt Scotch Whisky consumers around the world who wish to share their passion for Single Malt Scotch Whisky, explore the whiskies within the Classic Malts range, and discover the untold stories of some of Scotland’s best Distilleries.

The community currently consists of over 1 million Classic Malts enthusiasts around the world who enjoy the following benefits for free:

  • Behind the scenes footage, sharing the secrets and showcasing the personalities from our world of whisky through a monthly email program
  • Free guided tours at 12 of the Classic Malts distilleries across Scotland
  • Exclusive offers and competitions

Please consumer your Single Malt Whisky  in moderation.


The Classic Malts Selection, The Friends of the Classic Malts, The Classic Malts, Royal Lochnagar and Talisker words and the Quaich device and associated logos are trade marks. © Diageo 2013

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A special limited-edition bottling of Lagavulin™ single malt Scotch whisky will again be available at this year’s Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival ( #LagavulinJazz ), which starts on Friday 13 September with a concert in the Malt Mill at Lagavulin distillery by the master of American Stride piano, Stephanie Trick.

The third in this series of releases, the 2013 bottling comes in an edition of 1,500 individually numbered bottles and drawn from hand-selected Sherry Butts filled on 19 January 1995. It is bottled at an ABV of 51.9%.

Lagavulin Jazz bottling 2013

Lagavulin Jazz bottling 2013

“We’re delighted to announce our third Jazz Festival bottling” said Nick Morgan, Diageo’s Head of Whisky Outreach. “The first two have been of quite exceptional quality, and this year we’ve increased the quantity to ensure that it can be enjoyed by visitors who come from all over the world to enjoy the Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival, and those who follow.”

The neck labelling continues the jazz theme of previous editions, again featuring a piano keyboard.

Bottles will be available to personal visitors only at Lagavulin distillery (limit of two bottles per customer) at a UK RRSP of £99.



Pack shots available: contact Pat Roberts |   | +44 20 7733 4108 | +44 7774 424 410

The Islay Jazz Festival

The Festival is promoted by specialist jazz promoters, Jazz Scotland, and The Islay Arts Association, and receives funding from Argyll and Bute Council and Creative Scotland.

The Festival has been running since 1999. Since then the Festival has promoted musicians from over 25 countries and presented fifteen world premieres and is today regarded as a significant  jazz event in the UK calendar.

Programme details can be seen on the Islay Jazz Festival website The events of the Festival are spread over three days and many venues on Islay.

Diageo’s famous Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Lagavulin™ first sponsored the Festival in 2010.

About Diageo

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at

For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit .

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

The LAGAVULIN word and associated logos are trade marks. © Diageo 2013
Posted in Diageo, Jazz, Lagavulin


Diageo has announced the ten Single Malt Whiskies that form its annual limited-edition Special Releases for 2013.

In the words of Nik Keane, global director for malt whiskies at Diageo, they represent “some of the most sought after, valuable and collectible Single Malt Scotch Whiskies in the world”.

The oldest in the collection is a Lagavulin™ at 37 years old and distilled in 1976 – the oldest expression of Lagavulin ever released by the distillers, in a dramatically limited edition of fewer than 2,000 bottles. It is flanked by a lively 12 year old Lagavulin.

Georgie Crawford, distillery manager at Lagavulin, said: “Lagavulin is probably the most sought-after single malt whisky in production today  –  universally acknowledged as one of the unchallenged grands crus of Scotch Whisky. For many years we have been unable to supply sufficient mature spirit to meet worldwide demand. So bottlings of old Lagavulin are exceptionally rare, and this year’s 37 year old is the oldest that we have ever released. Its 12 year old younger brother makes a regular appearance in the Special Releases, and has always been received with huge enthusiasm.”

Lagavulin 37yo

Lagavulin 37yo

Further North, from the Isle of Skye, 3,000 individually numbered bottles of a classic and sophisticated Talisker™ distilled in 1985 are destined to be much in demand from adorers of this legendary single malt.

Three grown-up whiskies make the case for Speyside.  An unusually mature example of Cardhu™, presented at 21 years old in fewer than 6,000 individually numbered bottles, will suggest an interesting comparison with the 22 year old Cardhu own bottling released in 2005. The 28 year old bottling of The Singleton of Dufftown™ is the first limited cask strength edition of The Singleton in this series with just 3,840 individually numbered bottles. And bottled at 36 years old, the very rare Convalmore™ – from the Dufftown distillery that ceased production in 1985 – makes a welcome reappearance, carrying  a few more years since its last much-acclaimed showing in the Special Releases back in 2005, this time in a smaller edition of only 3,000 bottles.

For lovers of West Coast Single Malt Whiskies, Oban™ is represented by a 21 year old from rejuvenated American Oak and a second fill in ex-Bodega casks. Another complex maturation regime lies behind the 8th unpeated limited edition of Caol Ila™ which this year proudly carries the subtitle “Stitchell Reserve” in honour of the long-serving distillery manager Billy Stitchell, due to retire this year.  “Refill American Oak, rejuvenated American Oak and ex-bodega European Oak have all played a role in creating this special Caol Ila,” explains Billy. “It has a firm, clean and fresh style, finishing with aromatic, spicy and drying notes.”

Ultra-rare bottlings from another two long-closed distilleries complete the line-up in this year’s releases. A 34 year old Port Ellen™, the 13th and oldest release from the original distillers, comes in an edition of fewer than 3,000 individually numbered bottles, as does the equally desirable Highland East Coast 35 year old Brora™, from casks filled in 1977. Both bottlings are destined to excite collectors and connoisseurs.

Brora 35

Brora 35

Nick Morgan, Diageo’s head of whisky outreach,  commented: “Stocks of Brora and Port Ellen are inexorably diminishing. Each year’s limited-edition bottling releases one more fragment of whisky history that is unique, and can’t ever be replaced. This puts Port Ellen and Brora in a different category from most other very old single malts  –  mainly from operating distilleries  –  that  are on the market, often at very high  prices. On top of that, Port Ellen and Brora are not merely rare, old and in great demand – they are judged by most qualified commentators to be of outstanding quality, and this year’s edition will be no exception.

“Indeed, many would accept that Port Ellen and Brora are among the world’s rarest Single Malt Whiskies still being released.”

— ENDS —

Details & Prices

Please scroll down.

Official Tasting Notes

Diageo Special Releases 2013: Official Tasting Notes

Brora™ 35 year old

Refill American Oak and European Oak
  • Appearance: Yellow gold or polished brass. Lightly oily.
  • Nose: Initially clean, fresh and bracing; then warming, developing depth and richness. Creamy top notes of warm scented wax or vanilla-custard float above a herbal note (basil?) and a sharper, cereal base, all suffused with just a thread of smoke. The nutty, waxy notes sweeten into honeycomb and toasted coconut. The sea appears very late, as a fresh sea breeze. Adding a little water softens the impact and brings up the scented wax, with honey and lemongrass subduing the more subtle vanilla aromas.
  • Body: Light and softly coating.
  • Palate: Good texture and a surprising taste: much sweeter than you expect from the nose, and much more smoky, with a most attractive tongue-coating smoothness. A leafy hint of fresh picked strawberry introduces lemon zest and candied peel to set the tongue tingling. Then damp beach notes of wood, sand and sea air round off a beautifully balanced palate. With water added this is a very easy-drinking, rewarding dram: fuller in texture than when at full strength, it is also less sweet, becoming mouth drying, cleansing and softly smoky.
  • Finish: Coating, chewy and softly drying, with minty chocolate (after-dinner mints). Wood smoke lingers in the complex, fresh and spicy conclusion.

Summary: A Brora classic: a mature, sweetly pleasing, tongue-coating, softly smoky malt that rewards deep study, evoking a tranquil beach scene rather than the drama of the high seas. Fans of Brora will not be disappointed by this superb, comforting, old-fashioned whisky.

Caol Ila™ Unpeated Stitchell Reserve

Refill American Oak, rejuvenated American Oak and ex-bodega European Oak
  • Appearance: Clear, olive gold. Light beading.
  • Nose: At full strength, immediately clean, aromatic and fresh: like inhaling Friar’s Balsam. After this first blast, more reticent; softly sweet, then a vivid freshness like that of crisp green fruit or lemon zest. Water raises a fruity, nutty honeyed sweetness and a faint note of treacle, with perhaps just a hazy hint of smoke.
  • Body: Light to medium. Oily, yet firm.
  • Palate: Drinks well straight; has an intense and in your face style, with a most appealing smooth, lightly oily texture. Firm, clean and fresh throughout. Intense and mouth-filling, with a great initial surge of sweet spiciness unaccompanied by the usual signature phenols of peated Caol Ila or indeed, much fruit. Becoming honey-nutty (nut brittle, with a dark edge of treacle bitterness) then finally, warming and drying. A good splash of water develops these flavours; it’s tongue-coating and appetisingly bitter-sweet now, leaving a spicy dryness as the tide of flavour ebbs.
  • Finish: Aromatic, spicy and drying; a balancing bitter edge embraces more of the soft nutty, biscuity notes, always maintaining that essential freshness overall.

Summary: A smooth-talking, easy-drinking powerhouse. A powerfully, punchy, warming and sweet-spicy whisky with a mighty vitality and a smooth texture: the clean, fresh bitter-sweet nutty flavours give it a character all of its own and it’s a perfect testament to a remarkable whisky making dynasty.

Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve

Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve

Cardhu™ 21 year old

Ex-bourbon American Oak
  • Appearance: Old gold; richer amber depths. Good beading.
  • Nose: Mild and at first quite shy. An early creamy, fruity note of vanilla and boiled sweets (bubble gum!) is faintly underscored by a rich, floral perfume with a cleansing edge. The creamy fruitiness persists as dried figs, rum-and-raisin ice cream, red apple skins and beeswax. Later a malty, biscuity base layer is revealed, as the cleansing edge becomes a sharply defined top layer. Overall, it’s a richer vanilla custard and fruit trifle creaminess that emerges. Water opens things out, raising both fruit and floral scents slightly, the boiled sweets now mandarin-flavoured.
  • Body: Fine and light.
  • Palate: At natural strength, smooth and savoury, with light acidity. Clean, refined, pleasantly drying and delicate. Then wonderfully aromatic with notes of black cherry; growing spicy, warming and elegant, with nutty, dark chocolate offset by buttery shortbread. It’s even softer with a drop of water. Now the taste starts cooler and sweeter; still savoury (mint on a fresh fruit salad) but also newly spicy across the tongue.
  • Finish: Long, aromatic and warming; smooth vanilla balanced by juicy tangerine and faint orange oil with spicy cedar, late silky-smooth dryness and a wisp of smoke.

Summary: Clean and precisely structured; delicate and feminine on the nose, yet also robust, assured and unusually spicy. A beautifully balanced malt in which lusciously rich and indulgent vanilla notes are complemented by elegantly aromatic and refined tannins in the palate and finish.

Cardhu 21

Cardhu 21

Convalmore™ 36 year old

Refill European Oak
  • Appearance: Vibrant amber or faded polished mahogany. Medium beaded and very viscous.
  • Nose: Mild and profound, opening scented with eucalyptus oil and a trace of leather infusing a soft pillow of marshmallow and creamy toffee. Through this runs a rich vein of clean, tropical fruit sharpness, underscored by soft, crumbly, malty notes with a wisp of smoke. In time, the appetising fruit retreats into a rich, creamy shell. A little water brings up the soft toffee creaminess and a little mint, as the fruity complex becomes fresher.
  • Body: Lightly oily. Smooth.
  • Palate: Big and oily in texture; gently warming and extremely soft and comforting, like a whisky syrup!  The taste is immediately sweet yet, with a note of aniseed, not cloying. Successive waves of pepper, salt and smoke follow, revealing a mouth-drying nature. With water, the texture remains big, thick and tongue-coating; the taste is sweeter, cooler and minty; slightly dusty, too, with hints of shortbread and scented smoke.
  • Finish: Superbly balanced, with an unusual aftertaste of perfumed smoke. There’s still sweetness but it’s in essence drying, with notable cedar-rich hints of cigar box.

Summary: A subtle, big whisky with an astonishing rich velvet texture that wears its age lightly yet has developed a wonderful complexity. The young-seeming, sweet and succulent nose leads, via the smooth, comforting palate, to a drying conclusion of marked aromatic complexity, masterminded by long years of maturation.

Convalmore 36

Convalmore 36

Lagavulin™ 12 year old

Refill American Oak
  • Appearance: Extremely pale green-gold.
  • Nose: Soft, beguiling and cautious at first, when an appetising sharpness slowly crystallises into red berry fruit, then developing soft, savoury aromas and a delicious smoky sweetness. Savoury hints of charred baked potato skins cooked in a bonfire come first, then peat smoke and a box of spent matches come through. Later still, there are teasing, oily hints of sharp tropical fruit (lime pickle?). These aromas are altogether softer with water; less tense and underscored by youthful sweetness. There are smoky-fresh notes, then raisins and dried fruit, with distant wood smoke.
  • Body: Light. Oily.
  • Palate: Cooling at first, then salty, drying and dusty, with a good balance of sweetness and acidity. Beautifully cleansing, like a salad of tarragon and peppery rocket, then really appetizing, as if a char-grilled endive splashed with peppery olive oil. The charred notes then strengthen, into smoky wax. Sweeter with water and more accessible, as captivating notes of aniseed and fennel seeds give way to charred fruit scones and burnt jam tarts.
  • Finish: Simultaneously sweet and savoury, dominated by pungent smoke and appetising aniseed. With growing warmth, it becomes oily near the end. With water it is sweet and abrupt with subdued smoke; pleasantly drying and piney.

Summary: An initially reserved member of the Lagavulin family, which grows much more at ease and expressive with water. As you might expect, this is a wonderfully appetising, invigorating and cleansing malt; soaring pine and pungent smoke invite you to pair it with lean, intense foods.

Lagavulin 12

Lagavulin 12

Lagavulin™ 37 year old

Refill American and European Oak
  • Appearance: Rich amber with copper lights. Good beading.
  • Nose: Modestly low key, setting the tone for a maestro’s ‘less is more’ performance. Yet still the aroma could only be that of Lagavulin: rich and complex, an artist’s oils wreathed in scented smoke. The top notes are elusive: is that menthol or beef consommé? Further in, though, there’s honeyed toffee with hints of lime zest, and a cigar-box made of resin-rich sandalwood. With water the aroma is joyously sweet and lightly oily.
  • Body: Medium. Lightly coating.
  • Palate: At natural strength, the taste is sensational, rounded and comforting. There’s a nice cooling mouthfeel, while the sweet-smoky start of charcoal and ripe tropical fruits is followed by gathering wood smoke leading to a palate-cleansing, black tea dryness. Along the way waves of honey, pine, treacle tart and roasting chestnuts interact. It’s really delicate with water, which pulls back the curtain of smoke to reveal a sweetly coating, softly warming and gingery character that is honeyed yet still refreshing.
  • Finish: Initially sweet then drying, a little like a treacle tart made with burnt pastry, but it’s the lingering, all-pervading fragrant smoke that seeps into your very soul.

Summary: This outstanding mature Lagavulin is a perfectly balanced, calm and confident malt that is utterly wonderful and understated even at cask strength and becomes joyously delicate with water. Smoky flavours can fade with age, but they are undimmed in this elegant yet robust whisky.

Lagavulin 37

Lagavulin 37

Oban 21

Oban 21

Oban™ 21 year old

Rejuvenated American Oak and second fill ex-bodega casks
  • Appearance: Polished beech-wood; richer and deeper in sunlight. Moderate beading.
  • Nose: Full, accessible and oily, with rich caramel notes embracing sweet, ripe apples set in burnt pastry yet also with fresh and cleansing maritime notes; fragrant dried seaweed, hot sand dunes. Then darker, linseed-oil-rich aromas like those found at a furniture restorer’s lead to a briefly salty, then spicy, aromatic conclusion. It’s more complex and sweetly rounded with water, with lighter caramel, more ripe autumn fruit, and a trace of smoke, delivering a pleasurable, moreish malt.
  • Body: Rich.
  • Palate: Warming overall, the dense, oily texture beautifully coating and liqueur-like. The taste is first sweet, with fruity vanilla toffee, then salty, with pistachio shells, and burnt pastry. Becomes sweeter and less salty: less the old sea-dog! Mouth-cleansing, cool and fresh, and drying. Water emphasises the cooling, sweet and salty notes; rich dark chocolate and minty smoke.
  • Finish: Lengthy and drying, starting sweet and savoury with raspberry juice, dark smooth chocolate, ginger and clove, yet with an attractive salty, oily aftertaste, all brine and smooth olive oil.

Summary: Oban, and then some. A beautifully paced, confident and assured malt; complex and contradictory, yet always rewarding. Rich and sweet then briny and spicy, at once conveying the freshness of walks along the coast and through apple orchards early on a crisp, autumn morning.

Port Ellen 34

Port Ellen 34

Port Ellen™ 34 year old

Refill American Oak and refill European Oak
  • Appearance: A clear amber, like antique gold in sunlight.  Dense beading, suggesting rich texture.
  • Nose: Cautious and clean at first, with hints of dark toffee wrapped in wood smoke, then cooling oil of eucalyptus and a trace of bruised apple fruit. The wood smoke parts to reveal a savoury, meaty scent, then sweet honey, toasted cereals and a whole artist’s studio of oils. With water, it starts smoky (like vegetables on a barbecue) the underlying oiliness now punctuated by hints of lime.
  • Body: Light, oily, smooth.
  • Palate: Stunning. Caution is thrown to the winds as sweet and intense smoke races across the palate chased by fresh lemons, lemon zest and butter. This rich, fruity smoky-sweetness becomes tongue-coating, smooth dark chocolate enveloped in exquisite wood smoke. It drinks very well straight and when the attack slows, there’s yet more honey, lemon and a sprinkling of sea salt. If water is added it is smooth, lightly oily, much sweeter now and more accessible: still some salt, with a new spicy tingle.
  • Finish: Long, coating, intense and sustained, all pervading scented smoke, hints of mint and bergamot, then finally dense and savoury, with an aftertaste suggesting cloves.

Summary: A phenomenal, mighty and utterly compelling Port Ellen with astonishing complexity and huge character. The refined nose gives no clue to the vivid, immediate onrush of astonishing flavours; a fine interplay of clean citrus, alluring smoke and salt with honeyed sweetness.

The Singleton of Dufftown™ 28 year old

Refill American Oak
  • Appearance: Deep antique gold. Good beading
  • Nose: Grand and mild; compact yet detailed, with ripe apple and pear fruit or perhaps beeswax and heather pollen, and scents of moorland herbs. Quite autumnal, with faint smoke and a savoury cereal note, and like an old dusty library carrying scents of wax and worn leather. Later, orange oil underscores the complex floral notes. In time some vanilla develops, becoming intense buttercream. Water lightens it considerably and brings out the malty, cereal character (like being in a grain loft), with leafy strawberries, more waxiness and the merest trace of smoke.
  • Body: Oily, dense.
  • Palate: At natural strength, this malt has a big, oily feel; sweet and reminiscent of a wholewheat breakfast cereal coated with honey. The initial effect is warming, with an instantly appetising astringency. Below this lie minty and faintly smoky notes and rich chewy liquorice with a digestive biscuit sweetness. It’s all sweeter and less oily with water; losing that piercing aromatic dryness and with the cereal note dimmed, it’s altogether gentler and more approachable.
  • Finish: Invigorating, warming and gloriously astringent at the end, with notes of pine and cedar to leave the palate tingling over a lingering last wisp of smoke.

Summary: A wonderfully appetising, full flavoured and mature malt, made subtle by long ageing, yet retaining its malty/nutty distillery character. Beautifully structured and paced, it is at once fresh and alive on the palate, yet also evocative of the past; complex and exciting, intricate and intriguing.

The Singleton of Dufftown 28

The Singleton of Dufftown 28

Talisker™ 27 year old

Refill American Oak
  • Appearance: Rich, clear amber with notes of antique gold.
  • Nose: Absolutely classic Talisker. First soft and sweet, with shortcrust pastry and rich warm dark chocolate. Next, after the faintest mention of raspberry juice, comes waft upon waft of warming, homely smoke. Through this rises the buttery, oaty aroma of home-made chocolate chip cookies, offset by sharp mixed-berry jam and ripe red apples. There are late top notes of beeswax and polish on new shoes fresh from the box. Water makes it all sweetly smoky and liberates mysterious volcanic fumes.
  • Body: Medium. Oily.
  • Palate: Cool, salty and sweet; then warming and spicy, with notes of ginger and clove. Growing rich and malty, with helpings of plum pudding and fruitcake. Then resin-rich, dense, fragrant pine-wood smoke. Soft, smooth and bitter-sweet with water, with gently pervasive smoke.
  • Finish: Long and silky-smooth, with more of that drying, unctuous and soft dark chocolate, and chewy, with ripe plums. Late warmth, cigar-box cedar and coal smoke.

Summary: A supreme Talisker; wonderfully classic in style and as sophisticated as its peers but with an extra ‘chilled’ self-assurance and even an edge of darkness. A malt that lives life to the full and doesn’t take itself too seriously: it’s also ever-so-slightly edgy, with suggestions of a volcanic heritage.

Talisker 1985

Talisker 1985


Pack shots available: contact Pat Roberts |   | +44 20 7733 4108 | +44 7774 424 410


Autumn 2013, from specialist retailers in Northern Europe, in selected Asian markets and in the USA.

About the Special Releases

During the late 1980s, the benchmark expressions of single malt whiskies from six single malt distilleries became well known under the CLASSIC MALTS™ name. Interest in older and rarer malt whiskies in general also grew during this period. One product of this was the RARE MALTS, a series of rarer releases begun in 1995, and which ended in 2005 as stocks declined. There remained a demand for unusual, distinctive, often older, unrepeatable cask strength bottlings, usually of the CLASSIC MALTS. Such bottlings allowed collectors, connoisseurs and enthusiasts to enjoy and experience remaining older stocks, and/or unusual expressions of a distillery’s character – a treasure trove of priceless malts.

To satisfy this demand, the Special Releases series was born in 2001, and the annual collection  –  with familiar names and some surprises  –  has been eagerly awaited by enthusiasts ever since.

Billy Stitchell, Caol Ila Distillery

The Stitchells are a whisky family whose connections with Caol Ila extend back to the 19th century. Before Billy, his father worked at Caol Ila, and his father before him. On his mother’s side – the McCallum’s – both his grandfather and great-grandfather served as Maltmen at Caol Ila. And, apart from, ‘filling in’ at Lagavulin or the Port Ellen Maltings in the co-operative way of the island, Billy has spent his entire career at the Caol Ila Distillery since 1974, starting with filling casks and working in the warehouse, then in the tun room and overseeing the fermentation stage of whisky-making;  next graduating to mashing.  He was selected for management training in 1990 and has worked his way up to his present position. In an age when most career tracks involve numerous jobs and multiple employers, Billy Stitchell’s single path is a rarity, but one that he attributes to the location and the quality of the work.

About Diageo

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

The Classic Malts, Brora, Caol Ila, Cardhu, Convalmore, Lagavulin, Oban, Port Ellen, The Singleton of Dufftown and Talisker words and associated logos are trademarks © Diageo 2013

 Details and Prices

Brora *** 35 1977 £750 49.9 2,944*
Caol Ila Not declared Not stated £70 59.6 Limited number
Cardhu 21 1991 £160 54.2 6,000*
Convalmore *** 36 1977 £600 58.0 2,980*
Lagavulin 12 not stated £80 55.1 Limited number
Lagavulin 37 1976 £1,950 51.0 1,868*
Oban 21 not stated £225 58.5 2,860*
Port Ellen *** 34 1978 £1,500 55.0 2,958*
The Singleton of Dufftown 28 1985 £235 52.3 3,816*
Talisker 27 1985 £475 56.1 3,000**
* = individually numbered bottles ** = individually numbered cartons *** = closed distillery
Posted in Brora, Diageo, Lagavulin, Port Ellen, Single Malt, Talisker, The Singleton, Whisky