The 2016 Diageo Special Releases Reviewed

Brora 38 year old Every year since 2001 Diageo have had an annual Special Releases selection of rare and unusual bottlings, usually at natural cask strength, and this year is no different.

Originally evolving from the Rare Casks Selection, which ran from 1999 to 2005, there have been some outstanding whiskies included within this range.

I didn't manage to make last years event but it was covered for me by Ben from Bens Whisky (read about it here) but i managed to make to London for this years event.

There are some great drams in this years selection with the Mannochmore being my personal favourite.

You can read my notes below:


Auchroisk 25 Year Old (Special Releases 2016)

Auchroisk 25 year old This Auchroisk 25 Year Old was bottled as part of the 2016 Diageo Special Releases and tasted at their launch event in London.

Auchroisk is one of those not hugely well known distilleries but it was the distillery behind The Singleton originally, but that has now been replaced by Glen Ord, Glendullan and Dufftown distilleries.

This dram almost has a light pink hue, it's a combination of American and European oak and is full of fruity flavours.

You can pre-order/buy from specialists such as Robert Graham or Master of Malt

Thanks to Diageo for the invite to this prestigious event.

 

Sweet, gentle but constantly evolving and growing in the glass, lovely sweet malt loaf notes, fresh fruit salad, orange and small citrus peels, gentle earthy notes with juicy ripe Galia melon and digestive biscuit.

Initially sweet with fresh fruit salad there's gentle Christmas cake spices, some elements of mixed nuts combine with a thick creamy butteriness and a hint of high quality dark chocolate.

Fresh, sweet, fruity, lasting

Bottle Name: Auchroisk 25 Year Old (Special Releases 2016)
Age: 25
ABV: 51.20
Distiller: Auchroisk
Bottler: Auchroisk
Type: Single Malt
From: Scotland, Speyside


Brora 38 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)

Brora 38 year old This Brora 38 Year Old was bottled as part of the 2016 Diageo Special Releases and tasted at their launch event in London.

Brora is always sought after, and with it being included in almost all of the annual Special Releases there cannot be too much left maturing in warehouses. Nick Morgan did assure us that there are still some out there though.

This is a brilliant dram and despite being one of the unpeated Brora versions it still has that whiff of smoke to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

You can pre-order/buy from specialists such as Robert Graham or Master of Malt

Thanks to Diageo for the invite to this prestigious event.

 

At first a little light wood smoke, like driving past old cottages with their wood burner fireplaces going, a gentle sweet lemon chalkiness and then some sweet rich dried fruits. This really opens up,with a splash of water, with a bit more toffee and vanilla coming through.

Sweet waxy chalky lemons then a slice of spiced plum pudding, rich and delicious sweet molasses, waxy and thick, light love heart sweets, a drop of menthol and still a light whiff of wood smoke

Sweet, gentle, a hint of chalky fruits, warming,

Bottle Name: Brora 38 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)
Age: 38
ABV: 48.60
Distiller: Brora (Closed)
Bottler: Brora
Type: Single Malt
From: Scotland, Highland


Cambus 40 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)

Cambus 40 year old This Cambus 40 Year Old was bottled as part of the 2016 Diageo Special Releases and tasted at their launch event in London.

A 40 year old Grain whisky, yes please, this is fruity, delicious and would go brilliantly with a big slice of Custard Tart with a splash of Rhubarb sauce.

You can pre-order/buy from specialists such as Robert Graham or Master of Malt

Thanks to Diageo for the invite to this prestigious event.

 

Sweet butterscotch and icing sugar, toffee and butter caramels, salt water taffies, a soft sweet butter weathers original, hints of slightly chalky floral notes, very easy on the nose, rich dried Apple, tangy and with a gentle hint of spice

A combination of toasted almonds and crushed sugared almonds, lightly toasted white bread, sweet juicy fruits of Apple, soft pear and melon, lots of warmth on the tongue without the sting of high ABV, a touch more spice

Reasonably long but very comforting,

Bottle Name: Cambus 40 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)
Age: 40
ABV: 52.70
Distiller: Cambus (Closed)
Bottler: Cambus
Type: Single Grain
From: Scotland, Lowland


Caol Ila Unpeated 15yr (2016 Special Releases)

Caol ila 12 year old This Caol Ila Unpeated 12 Year Old was bottled as part of the 2016 Diageo Special Releases and tasted at their launch event in London.

I was really looking forward to this as i loved the 2014 Unpeated Caol Ila but this one just didn't do it for me, it was just too metallic for my liking.

You can pre-order/buy from specialists such asMaster of Malt

Thanks to Diageo for the invite to this prestigious event.

 

lovely sweet buttered rolls fresh gentle citrus fruit skins, without the tang, fresh sweet sherbet, a hint of vanilla essence and a splash of lemon drizzle cake

rich and tasty, theres quite a boldness to this, rich fruit skins, a gentle fruity note of sweet sugar coated plums and figs, metallic though

a hint metallic and tannic

Bottle Name: Caol Ila Unpeated 15yr (2016 Special Releases)
Age: 15
ABV: 61.50
Distiller: Caol Ila
Bottler: Caol Ila
Type: Single Malt
From: Scotland, Islay


Cragganmore (2016 Special Releases)

Cragganmore This Cragganmore was bottled as part of the 2016 Diageo Special Releases and tasted at their launch event in London.

A non age statement dram created using a mixture of refill american oak, rejuvinated american oak and european oak casks this was sweet and tasty and ranked really highly with me.

You can pre-order/buy from specialists such as Master of Malt or Robert Graham

Thanks to Diageo for the invite to this prestigious event.

 

A really gentle nose here, lemonade and American cream soda, lashings of vanilla cream with a sprinkle of sugar, juicy fruit chewing gum and a slice of fresh honeydew melon, rounded off with a touch of mixed nuts

Sweet, creamy, freshly made pina colada, more American cream soda and lashing of vanilla cream, malt loaf and digestive biscuits, a slight herbaceous note and a slightly spicy creamy butter icing,

Herbaceous, sweet, delicious

Bottle Name: Cragganmore (2016 Special Releases)
Age: NAS
ABV: 55.70
Distiller: Cragganmore
Bottler: Cragganmore
Type: Single Malt
From: Scotland, Speyside


Glenkinchie 24 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)

Glenkinchie 24 Year Old This Glenkinchie 24 Year Old was bottled as part of the 2016 Diageo Special Releases and tasted at their launch event in London.

I'm a huge lowland fan and the nose on this was exactly what i wanted, sweet, floral, delicious, the palate however with a bit hotter with spice and i'm not sure it works as a lowlander.

You can pre-order/buy from specialists such as Master of Malt or Robert Graham

Thanks to Diageo for the invite to this prestigious event.

 

Floral notes come in first, then a hint of damp balsa wood, light,sweet and easy to sniff without any prickle, light tropical fruit salad mixing sweet and bitter fruits with names you've never heard of, a definite wood influence.

Spicy up front, fruits, sweet fresh pineapple chunks, hugely powerful and wood influenced, gentle spices with dried apricots and caramelised banana fritters, quite unusual.

Sweet, spicy, different

Bottle Name: Glenkinchie 24 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)
Age: 24
ABV: 57.20
Distiller: Glenkinchie
Bottler: Glenkinchie
Type: Single Malt
From: Scotland, Lowland


Lagavulin 12 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)

Lagavulin 12 Year Old This Lagavulin 12 Year Old was bottled as part of the 2016 Diageo Special Releases and tasted at their launch event in London.

This isn't the bruiser of its 16year old big brother, it's much more refined, despite the higher ABV, more of the underlying sweetness from Lagavulin shining through

You can pre-order/buy from specialists such as Master of Malt or Robert Graham

Thanks to Diageo for the invite to this prestigious event.

 

Mixed honey roast vegetables with gentle wood smoke, reminiscent of Boy Scout camp fire evenings with wood smoke, fruit and sweet vegetable notes, a hint of burnt marshmallows and a touch of jacket potato in tin foil

Sweet honey glazed parsnips and smoky, oily cereal notes, quite gentle on the palate, this isn't a big bruiser of a dram, coastal beachside salty chip shop chips from a metallic tin container

Long, gentle, coastal

Bottle Name: Lagavulin 12 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)
Age: 12
ABV: 57.70
Distiller: Lagavulin
Bottler: Lagavulin
Type: Single Malt
From: Scotland, Islay


Linkwood 37 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)

Linkwood 37 Year Old This Linkwood 37 Year Old was bottled as part of the 2016 Diageo Special Releases and tasted at their launch event in London.

Sweet, fruity, juicy and very much tasty, this does have a hint of sawdust, which is almost pencil shavings, on the nose but other than that a tasty tasty dram.

You can pre-order/buy from specialists such as Master of Malt

Thanks to Diageo for the invite to this prestigious event.

 

this is sweet and fresh, juicyness with a hint of lovely wax based furniture polish, and a splash of fresh edges of tangy fruity juices, a hint of sawdust like woody notes also

oh wow sweet vanilla dipped sugar and fresh fruit salad tangy juicy pears and a drizzle of lemon meringue pie

very very easy to drink, sweet and fruity

Bottle Name: Linkwood 37 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)
Age: 37
ABV: 50.30
Distiller: Linkwood
Bottler: Linkwood
Type: Single Malt
From: Scotland, Speyside


Mannochmore 25 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)

Mannochmore Year Old This Mannochmore 25 Year Old was bottled as part of the 2016 Diageo Special Releases and tasted at their launch event in London.

Probably my dram of the night, although the 2 super high value bottles might take that too, i loved the fruitiness and easy drinking nature of this dram.

You can pre-order/buy from specialists such as Master of Malt or Robert Graham

Thanks to Diageo for the invite to this prestigious event.

 

Rich and full of sweet honey, beeswax, sweet juicy fresh fruit salad, fruit gums and light gentle fresh garden salad leafs, lovely rich fruits both fresh and dried, the honey makes this seriously easy not nose all night long,

Soft and gentle, puffs of smoke that are likely cask char, a hint of light spice and a taste of freshly caramelised figs, delicious, mouth coating and very moreish.

When all you can write for the finish is Yum, sometimes that's enough.

Bottle Name: Mannochmore 25 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)
Age: 25
ABV: 53.40
Distiller: Mannochmore
Bottler: Mannochmore
Type: Single Malt
From: Scotland, Speyside


Port Ellen 37 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)

Port Ellen 37 Year Old This Port Ellen 37 Year Old was bottled as part of the 2016 Diageo Special Releases and tasted at their launch event in London.

Not a cheap dram, with the collectors and flippers making this dram a £2500ish out of the reach of most bottle of whisky, but its superb and if you can, you really should give this a try.

You can pre-order/buy from specialists such as Master of Malt or Robert Graham

Thanks to Diageo for the invite to this prestigious event.

 

That creamy sweet gentle smoke comes first,miss a note you can pick out a mile away, soft sweet, buttery smoke with lashings of sweet kiwi fruit. A gentle smoked toffee creaminess that is so comforting, easily relax just with the nose here.

A hint of cask char and vanilla sweetness that is a little smoky, beautifully rich sweet and buttery and seriously drinkable, Arbroath smokies and beach side chips, salty with a light gentle hint of spice and a dry ozone note round this off perfectly.

Light, sweet, gentle butterscotch and smoke.

Bottle Name: Port Ellen 37 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)
Age: 37
ABV: 55.20
Distiller: Port Ellen (Closed)
Bottler: Port Ellen
Type: Single Malt
From: Scotland, Islay


Related Articles

Diageo Introduces the 2016 Special Releases Collection
Brora 38 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)
Lagavulin 12 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)
Cragganmore (2016 Special Releases)
Glenkinchie 24 Year Old (2016 Special Releases)

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