Every year, Diageo rolls out several Special Release whiskies, a collection of limited-edition bottlings from across its extensive scotch distillery portfolio. The whiskies have been in high demand in the past, and usually for good reason, as they offer high quality and the chance to sample something different from a familiar brand. Until 2018, the batches always included a Port Ellen and Brora, two distilleries that closed in the 1980s whose whiskies gained a cult following in the early 2000s—thanks in no small part to their presence as part of the Special Releases.
But last year, after Diageo had announced its plans to rebuild both the Port Ellen and Brora distilleries, the collection lacked those whiskies for the first time. To make up for it, the 2018 Special Releases included several well-aged and well-received whiskies, including a 35 year old Caol Ila (93 points) and a 48 year old single grain whisky from the shuttered Carsebridge Distillery (95 points). Another “silent” whisky, a 28 year old from Pittyvaich (90 points), closed in 1993, was also included.
But this year’s collection appears to be somewhat slim pickings—literally, as it’s shrunk from ten releases to eight. Just one whisky comes from a silent distillery (Pittyvaich 29 year old, sure to closely repeat the performance of last year’s 28 year old), and there’s nothing older than 30 (a Dalwhinnie). Coming back for the third year in a row is a 12 year old Lagavulin (the 2017 version was named No. 4 in the Top 20), joined by a Cragganmore of the same age, Cardhu 14 year old, Talisker 15 year old, and a Singleton of Glen Ord 18 year old. The only other whisky of significant age is a Mortlach 26 year old.
Unfortunately, that’s all the information we have to share right now, as Diageo won’t release additional details about the whisky, like ABV, price, availability, or maturation program, until some unspecified date in the fall. We’ll post an update as soon as possible; for now, peruse the list of the 2019 Special Release whiskies below.
2019 Diageo Special Releases
Cragganmore 12 year old
Lagavulin 12 year old
Cardhu 14 year old
Talisker 15 year old
The Singleton of Glen Ord 18 year old
Mortlach 26 year old
Pittyvaich 29 year old
Dalwhinnie 30 year old