Whisky Advocate

Diageo releases 4th (and final) batch of “Manager’s Choice” whiskies

May 20th, 2010

I received this press release yesterday but was in NYC on business. You can follow the trail of blood leading back to the announcement of the first release here.



Following earlier batches launched in September, January and April, Diageo are now launching the fourth and final set of their highly exclusive single-cask collection of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Among the seven expressions that feature in this fourth release are some single malts familiar to many malt whisky drinkers – notably Clynelish™, Knockando™, and the iconic award-winning Islay malt, Lagavulin™.

But Auchroisk™, Benrinnes™, Blair Athol™ and Linkwood™ normally enjoy only very limited availability.

Each of the whiskies is drawn from one single oak cask, picked after a careful examination of distillery stocks, and bottled at its natural cask strength. The number of bottles obtained from the chosen casks can vary between approximately 640 and as little as 200.

So these are rare and distinctive whiskies. Aimed at collectors and connoisseurs, prices range from £200 to £300 per bottle.

Contact: Pat Roberts at

No Responses to “Diageo releases 4th (and final) batch of “Manager’s Choice” whiskies”

  1. Luke says:

    “Trail of Blood”? John, as always you’re the acme of politeness!

  2. brian bradley (brian47126) says:

    Good bye, Manager’s Choice… You will not be missed…

    I assume this little experiment in capitalism failed them as they are discontinuing the line. Had it worked, we would never have seen an end to it. It would have been nice to have them make an annual selection at cask strength with a sane price. It could have cost more than the standard bottle and everyone would be happy as they would have still made a profit.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Who’s discounting which line, Brian? Do you mean that you’ve seen the older editions of Manager’s Choice sitting on shelves somewhere, discounted? That would be cool– people predicted that, but I haven’t yet seen it myself.

      • Steffen Bräuner says:

        I have seen them with 20% discount several places. One was Milroy’s


      • David S says:

        They may well be discounting these bottles, but Brian wrote that they are discontinuing the line. This series of releases reached its intended conclusion, but perhaps there was a statement that Diageo will not attempt this again? Not sure what discontinue referred to.

        • mongo says:

          that’s implied in the press release, isn’t it?

          “Diageo are now launching the fourth and final set of their highly exclusive single-cask collection of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies”

          • David S says:

            What I was going for was that this was a planned final release. All 27 of Diageo’s single malts were represented and “the releases are (were) being staged in four batches over several months”, so that there was always a finite number of expressions to be released. This is different than a discontinuation of a series prior to the end of a project. Perhaps Brian meant to write “discounting”, as Red interpreted, however if not, my question was if Diageo had made any statements about this project not being repeated in the future with the implication that this was not a success.

            I agree with Brian’s suggestion that it would nice to see an annual selection, although this would be similar to the many “Flora and Fauna” releases.

  3. bgulien says:

    I hope they see that the Managers Choice series is doomed…
    On the limited whiskies: The independent bottlers have some of these distilleries in their portfolio for a lot less.
    I am enjoying a formidable Blackadder Raw Cask Auchroisk 20 yo for a third of the price.

  4. Alex says:

    Why can’t they offer single cask, cask strength bottlings regularly but at a reasonable price point? They have the stocks and as bgulien pointed out, the independents do it for a lot less and without the economies of scale in packaging, distribution and marketing that are available to Diageo. Frustrating.

  5. Jason Debly says:

    Alex, you know why they don’t do it for a lower price point. . . maximize profits and shareholder value. It’s free enterprise at its finest.

  6. Steffen Bräuner says:

    Tried a few of prior releases at a masterclass recently and was quite dissapointed. It wasn’t whisky I would buy at normal prices even. Diageo should hire me to select casks instead of the managers, I could do it better

    • Patrrick says:

      This is probably not one of their best selection, but I think that they were looking for singular expressions.

      I am not sure if the results are to their expectations, but the price tag was indeed to high. At half-the current price, this might be a different story

  7. mongo says:

    at half the current price i think most of us would be willing to try them (despite our suspicions of diageo’s marketing, and even if we didn’t go back for a second bottle they’d probably sell more. but this isn’t just about sales, it’s about building and fortifying a premium brand image. if enough people buy into the idea of the exclusivity of this range (if not the bottles themselves) some of that rubs off on the lower end of the line, and slowly but surely those prices go up too.

  8. Red_Arremer says:

    John, are you aware that this is a much more concise and modest press release thant the general one to the industry (find it on

    The standard release included a page of hype-material that the crowd here might’ve ripped apart. This one got itself over with quick. The concluding sentence is also peculiarly conversational and resigned.

    “So these are rare and distinctive whiskies. Aimed at collectors and connoisseurs, prices range from £200 to £300 per bottle.”

  9. JC Skinner says:

    I’d say that last line is almost defensive, actually.
    I score this one as Whisky drinkers 1 – Greedy Distillers 0.
    Hopefully that’s one of the last times we have to replay this match.

© Copyright 2017. Whisky Advocate. All rights reserved.