Posts Tagged ‘Diageo’

Mortlach: more news…and the price

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Author - Ian BuxtonDiageo have announced further details and pricing for the forthcoming release of four new Mortlach expressions. First revealed here in early December, the new range – which sadly means the demise of the much-loved Flora & Fauna 16 Years Old expression – comprises Rare Old (43.4%, no age statement); Special Strength (49%, non-age, non-chill filtered, Travel Retail exclusive); 18 Year Old and 25 Year Old (both 43.4%).

Rare Old

Rare and Old

Coming alongside a major expansion of the distillery, this is a big play for Diageo. Dr. Nick Morgan, the company’s head of whisky outreach, described the launch as “positioning Mortlach as the luxury malt to redefine the category. We didn’t just hang it with luxury trappings. It has great single malt credentials.” Quite what The Macallan will make of that remains to be seen but, as I warned last time, new Mortlach comes with a wealth warning; prices are very definitely going to rise sharply.

European consumers will get the new whiskies in smaller 500 ml bottles.  Morgan stated that this was “to make a little go further, as supply is constricted” but also suggested the new pack designs worked better in this bottle size. Be prepared for some fiscal easing: currently the Flora & Fauna bottle runs to around £70 in the UK (savvy merchants having moved their prices up as soon as supplies of these bottles were withdrawn).

Special Strength

Special Strength

The new ‘entry-level’ Rare & Old (it’s a NAS expression, but let’s not open that particular bottle here and now) in 500 ml is priced around £55 (£77 for the equivalent of a Euro-standard 700 ml bottle).  Special Strength will be £75 (£105); the 18 Years Old £180 (£252); and the 25 Years Old a thumping £600 (or £840 for a standard bottle).  U.S. consumers will get a 750 ml bottle, as the half-liter size is illegal there, so expect a shock at the check-out (actual U.S. prices have not been set yet).

The launch will be a global one, with priority given to high-end bars and specialist retailers in “core metro markets.” That means London, New York, Paris, Chicago, Shanghai, Moscow, San Francisco, and so on.

18 Year Old

18 Year Old

The highly distinctive packaging, said to be two years in development, was created by New York-based Laurent Hainaut of the Raison Pure design house, who claim on their website to offer “a platform for design excellence and social progress.” Clearly design excellence comes at a price, and with retail stickers such as these they will hardly be mistaken for socialists or philanthropists! The packs pay homage to the distillery’s founding father Alexander Cowie, and are heavily influenced by the great engineering achievements of Victorian Scotland, including icons such as the Forth Bridge and the mighty foundries and steelworks of Glasgow and the west of Scotland. (Note the metal framing on the 18 and 25 year old bottles.)

As for the distillery expansion itself, ground works have started to ready the site and construction will begin as soon as the final planning permissions have been received from the local authorities. It’s hoped that building will start very soon as the planning process is stated to be in its final stage.

25 Year Old

25 Year Old

The new Mortlach expressions themselves will enter global markets in late June and July this year, beginning with the UK and Germany, followed by Asia, and the U.S. later in the year. I await the launch with some interest: I cannot remember Diageo ever taking this amount of time and care to brief the whisky press over any previous release. These are big, meaty whiskies and the company is evidently playing for big steaks (pun intended, please forgive me!).

Diageo Announces Restoration Project at Stitzel-Weller Distillery

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Author - Lew BrysonWe’ve heard that Diageo intended to make the fabled Stitzel-Weller distillery the “home” of Bulleit whiskey. Bulleit’s been a very successful brand, but that’s starting to become a problem, because Bulleit fans who want to go see where it’s made are finding out that there is no Bulleit distillery. It’s a pretty poorly-kept secret that Bulleit bourbon is made at Four Roses; it’s open knowledge that Bulleit rye is made at MGP in Indiana.

But Diageo had a couple options to solve that problem, and this is one of them. Although the only operating American whiskey distillery owned by the world’s largest drinks company is George Dickel in Tennessee, Diageo also owns the Stitzel-Weller distillery, even if the place has been silent since the end of 1991. So the plan became to develop Stitzel-Weller as the Bulleit home.

Wednesday we learned that Diageo would be investing $2 million to renovate the original administrative building at the distillery, “to bring to life the history of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery through artifacts from the site’s archives; a whiskey education section; an homage to the people, land and water of Kentucky; and a celebration of the heritage, brands and people behind Diageo’s award-winning collection of American whiskeys.” That would be Bulleit and what Diageo is calling their “evolving craft whiskey portfolio,” which includes the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Project.

S-W MI_Mosaic imageDiageo plans to begin the work immediately, in order to have this first phase finished in time for Derby Day, which is when Stitzel-Weller opened, in 1935. There will be a visitor center and gift shop.

All things being equal, we’d rather see Bulleit get a distillery than a gift shop, but it’s a start. It’s a bit disturbing to hear all this talk about “craft whiskey” coming from the world’s largest drinks company (they referred to this as “another step in our support of and leadership within the American craft whiskey movement”), and we suspect the country’s craft distillers are greeting it with either gloom or hysteria.

But Bulleit has a home, and we’ll be able to walk the grounds of Stitzel-Weller again.

Diageo’s Orphan Barrel Whiskey Project

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

John HansellBack in late November, the whiskey media received news from Diageo of the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Project, a new series of old and rare limited-edition whiskeys from their warehouses. It’s something we’ve seen from Diageo before, but these are American whiskeys, not Scotch or Irish.

Many of you are aware that Diageo owns and operates the George Dickel distillery in Tennessee. They do not, however, own an operating bourbon distillery.  They own the Bulleit brand, but it’s an open secret that Bulleit bourbon has been produced at the Four Roses distillery in Kentucky; Bulleit Rye is sourced from MGP in Indiana.

Old Blowhard Lo ResBut Diageo does own the Stitzel-Weller distillery (mothballed around 1992), where they have stocks of bourbon aging, some distilled at Stitzel-Weller and some from other distilleries. They also once owned the existing Bernheim distillery (from around 1992 to 1999, when they sold it to Heaven Hill) and a different, older Bernheim distillery (theirs into the late 1980s).

So, in theory, future Orphan Barrel whiskey releases could be sourced from a number of operating and mothballed/demolished distilleries, including Stitzel-Weller, Bernheim (current and older), Dickel, Four Roses, MGP, or their Gimli, Manitoba distillery where Crown Royal is produced. There might even be some additional sources that I have omitted, but for the sake of (relative) brevity, let’s leave it at that.

The first three releases, all bourbons, are about to hit the shelves. The press release states that they were bottled at the Dickel distillery, but they weren’t made there. These won’t be the only three releases; at least, this is Diageo’s thinking at present. The two that were mentioned in the November release (Barterhouse and Old Blowhard) are being released first. A third one, tentatively called Rhetoric, will follow on a month or two later. These bourbons will only be sold in the U.S.

I recently had the opportunity to taste all three (along with another separate new Diageo bourbon release called Blade & Bow). All three Orphan Barrel bourbons have identical mashbills: 86% corn, 6% rye, and 8% barley. Whiskey geeks reading this will identify this as the formula from whiskey made at the Bernheim distilleries.

The youngest of the three is Rhetoric, clocking in at 19 years, followed by Barterhouse at 20 years and Old Blowhard at 26. If you do the math, you will discover that Old Blowhard was actually produced at the old Bernheim distillery. This is from the last remaining stocks. There will be no more Old Blowhard releases, according to Diageo. The suggested retail price of $150 is great when compared to other older bourbons and ryes these days—especially from mothballed and demolished distilleries. (Think Pappy Van Winkle and Stitzel-Weller.)Barterhouse Bottle Lo Res

Barterhouse is from the existing Bernheim distillery. My sources at Diageo say there might be another batch release of Barterhouse, and perhaps Rhetoric, down the road. Barterhouse, at a suggested retail price of $75, is also very attractively priced, considering its age.

But how do they taste? My informal tasting notes are below. Because they are informal, and not official Whisky Advocate reviews, I have not assigned a rating to them yet. This will come at a later date and eventually be published in the magazine.

There’s a sliding scale in flavor profile, with the Barterhouse being the sweetest of the three, Old Blowhard brandishing the most dry oak influence, and Rhetoric somewhere in the middle. I list them in that order, not by age.

Barterhouse 20 year old, 45.1%, $75

Surprisingly lacking in oak intensity, given its age. Very creamy and soothingly sweet, with notes of honeyed vanilla, crème brûlée, sultana, orange creamsicle, peach cobbler, and a subtle array of tropical fruit. Soft and mellow on the finish. It’s very easy-drinking and should be enjoyable under most moods and circumstances. Very nice indeed!

“Rhetoric” 19 year old, 45%, $TBD

Situated between Barterhouse and Old Blowhard in oak influence (and flavor profile in general). Firm spice, botanicals, and dried fruit delivered on a bed of caramel. There’s a kiss of honey to marry with the resinous oak grip, with polished leather and a hint of tobacco on the finish. This whiskey does indeed show its age with the oak presence (much more than Barterhouse), but the sweet notes make a valiant effort to keep the wood influence in check.

Old Blowhard 26 year old, 45.35%, $150

Old Blowhard indeed. The most intense of the three Orphan Barrel releases.  Very robust, with leather, tobacco, and roasted nuts. Quite spicy and resinous too. There’s toffee, maple syrup, and caramel struggling to sooth all this robustness, but the oak maintains the upper hand, I’m afraid.  A digestif, perhaps, after a large meal? Unless you are purchasing for a piece of bourbon history, my advice would be to try it before you buy, as it is very woody.

I did not take notes on the new Blade & Bow offering, but this is a younger, more standard offering that will be a regular stock item, bottled at 45% and sold for around $40. I did not ask the source.

In summary, my favorite of the three Orphan Barrel releases is Barterhouse. It’s very versatile, and the price is right for a 20 year old bourbon. Having said this, you may prefer Rhetoric when it comes out if you like more oak in your bourbon. It was my wife’s favorite. Old Blowhard is the rarest of the bunch, but whether you like it or not will largely depend on your oak tolerance. It’s my least favorite of the three, quite woody, and the most expensive.

Whisky Advocate Award: Distiller of the Year

Monday, December 23rd, 2013


Roseisle distillery

Roseisle distillery

Diageo moves in big ways, and that makes some folks uneasy. People scoffed when Diageo unveiled the massive new Roseisle distillery, for instance, fearing it would lead to the lights going out at affiliated distilleries all over Speyside.

Actually, what happened next was a $1.5 billion, five year investment program in Scotland, including a brand new distillery beside Teaninich. The numbers are big: 13 million liters per annum, sixteen copper stills, twenty new jobs, and a project cost of $76 million. Expansion projects and upgrades benefited distilling at Mortlach, Teaninich, Inchgower, Glendullan, Dailuaine, Benrinnes, Cragganmore, Glen Elgin, Glen Ord, Linkwood, and Mannochmore. The Cameronbridge facility has been revolutionized with a $163 million investment, endorsed by a site visit from the British prime minister. The company expanded the Diageo archive at Menstrie and realized improvements in their Leven packaging plant. The nearby Cluny Bond will have 46 new warehouses, each of which can store 60,000 casks.

Diageo also takes energy efficiency, water treatment, and renewable energy seriously. This investment in sustainability has added the latest green technologies to Glendullan, Dailuaine, Glenlossie, and Cameronbridge, with plans for a bio-energy plant at the new distillery in Alness. Roseisle is scaring nobody now.

Then there is Johnnie Walker. The world’s biggest Scotch whisky brand introduced Gold Label Reserve and Platinum Label into the United States, in addition to a freshly primped JW lineup in stores and Travel Retail. Odyssey tore up the rulebook on the perceived worth of blended malts. Those following the oceanic adventures of the John Walker & Sons Voyager across Pacific Asia and Europe were treated to a heady mix of glamour, celebrity, talent, and show-stopping spectacle with blended scotch as the guest of honor.

Now their single malt brands are returning to the fray. For starters, there are three new regular Talisker expressions, backed by the passionate people running the innovative new visitor experience on Skye, and there will also be more choices from Cardhu, Dufftown, and Mortlach.

The Diageo Special Releases 2013 contained some phenomenal liquids: the stunning Brora from 1977 with flavors that snapped into place with a droplet or two of water, and the beguiling, rounded flavors to be found in a glass of Convalmore 36 year old. The steep jump in some prices was in part justified as Diageo’s latest salvo on the war against flipping on the secondary market. Their attempts to snuff out the commoditization of highly sought-after limited editions may ensure that the purchasers are truly venerating the single malt whisky in the bottle. This stance extended to the festival bottlings of Lagavulin, Caol Ila, and Mortlach in 2013 from the Islay Jazz festival, Fèis Ìle, and the Spirit of Speyside festival. Bottling runs were upped into the thousands and prices were kept around £100 to prevent disappointment and curb profiteering.

Diageo is about whisky on a global stage. New innovations have bolstered their prospects across the Atlantic; Crown Royal Maple and Bulleit Bourbon 10 year old hit the ground running. Bourbon lovers will be intrigued to try the new Orphan Barrel whiskeys and Blade & Bow bourbon. Internationally, a pivotal moment was marked when Diageo gained control of India’s United Spirits Ltd. The prize was not Whyte & MacKay especially, rather the flourishing opportunities in accessing potential drinkers in the Indian subcontinent.

Sure, Diageo is huge, and their size makes some people nervous. But big moves require a big company. Substantial investment, a world-beating vision for future growth, and harnessing their guardianship of brand history to reach out to consumers have helped our Distiller of the Year deliver an incredible portfolio of whiskies to suit all pockets and preferences. — Jonny McCormick

photo credit: Keith Hunter Photography

Diageo announced four new distillery-only whiskies

Friday, May 21st, 2010

This just came in. I have always liked the concept of distillery-only whiskies. I think if you make the effort to visit a distillery, you should be rewarded for your efforts.

Here’s the press release:

Four New Whiskies Announced by Diageo

Special Distillery-only Single Malt Scotch Whisky Bottlings

Diageo has announced four additions to their extensive range of single malt whiskies  -  but only for visitors to their Scottish distilleries.

Lagavulin, Oban, Glenkinchie and Blair Athol will shortly be selling a single malt Scotch whisky bottling that isn’t available anywhere else in the world.

Like other Diageo distillery-only bottlings sold at Talisker, Caol Ila, and Clynelish, these new expressions are bottled at natural cask strength and without an age statement.

Nick Morgan, spokesman for the Classic Malts Selection™ range of Diageo’s single malts, said:

“When visitors take the trouble to visit our distilleries, it’s nice to be able to give them the option of buying something that they couldn’t get anywhere else.

“Of course they will still be able to buy the more familiar and widely distributed expressions, but these distillery-only bottlings might be regarded as even more special.

“In fact, with three of these new ones – Lagavulin™, Glenkinchie™ and Oban™ – we have been able to take advantage of a number of special casks that had been intended for bottling as Distiller’s Editions over the past few years but were found to be surplus to requirements, and have been sitting in our warehouse ever since. These have undergone a second (or ‘double’) maturation in American Oak cask wood that has previously held a fortified wine  -  in this case, sherry treated American oak casks.

“But unlike our regular Distillers Edition bottlings, these are offered at natural cask strength, and carry no age statement.”

The Lagavulin™ distillery-only bottling is expected to be available for visitors to buy during the Islay Festival this year. The prices will be between £55 and £70 UK RRP.

Details of new distillery-only bottlings

Blair Athol ABV 55.8%
Wood European oak (first fill sherry cask)
Nose Unreduced, faint nose prickle, rather like inhaling Friar’s Balsam. Strong rancio, more subtle fruit and a hint of struck matches. With time, a touch of sultana sweetness. Adding water lowers the cask-derived notes and adding plenty brings up a gentle, fragrant leafiness.
Palate Immediately sweet (dried apricots) with a pepper-spiced edge that soon moves centre stage to mask the fruit. Quickly develops a bitter-sweet character. Medium bodied, quite well integrated and rich – needing only a little water to show its best. Adding a bigger splash (1:1) gives a soft, sweet and malty start, with the spicy notes taking longer to come through, and raises the underlying, balancing bitterness.
Finish Quite short, sharp and drying, with some sweetness coming through again in the aftertaste.
Overall “A balanced and straightforward bitter-sweet malt.”


Glenkinchie ABV 59.1%
Wood Has undergone a second (or ‘double’) maturation in Amontillado-treated American oak casks.
Nose Unreduced, fruity, spicy, and dry. Subtle floral aromas develop but are far less obvious than in the Classic Malt expression. Adding water (not too much) softens and sweetens the nose.
Palate So sweet (acacia honey) with a surprising and luscious palate-coating texture. Medium bodied and unusually rich for Glenkinchie. Adding a splash of water softens things down into a sweet and spicy dram, with good grip, and a great balance of primary tastes.
Finish Medium length, crisp and sweetly drying.
Overall “The best Glenkinchie I’ve ever tasted, more all-rounder than apéritif. Even though in its new-found assertiveness it perhaps loses some of Glenkinchie’s signature floral notes, it is sweetly persuasive!”


Lagavulin 51.5%
Wood Has undergone a second (or ‘double’) maturation in Pedro Ximenez-treated American oak casks.
Nose Unreduced, big and rounded. At first sweet (toffee) and smoke with restrained medicinal notes. Bigger than the 16 year old expression. Adding water (not too much) softens the nose and balances the smoke and sweetness.
Palate A delightfully sweet start, at natural strength soon overwhelmed by a whole ocean of hot smoke crashing over the tongue. Rich, with great structure and grip. Big and powerful, sweeter than the 16 year old and just lovely to drink straight. Adding a splash of water(not too much) rounds things, easing back the smoke to leave a firmly balanced sweet-smoky dram.
Finish Medium to long, rich and peppery. Fine smoky aftertaste.
Overall “A big, self-assured Lagavulin with all the certainty of age, uncomplicated, satisfying and so-o-o easy to enjoy!”


Oban 55.0%
Wood Has undergone a second (or ‘double’) maturation in Pedro Montilla Fino-treated American oak casks.
Nose Unreduced, some nose prickle. Rich raisins and spicy wood. Adding a little water lowers the richness and brings up more subtle, fresh, fragrant notes.
Palate Unreduced, immediately sweet and powerful with a salty tang. Very warming with a good mouthfeel. Adding a good dash of water gives a honey-sweet, fruity start (ripe nectarine?) still with a hint of the sea behind it, then waves of light smokiness roll over the palate. Mouth-drying overall. Medium bodied, elegant.
Finish Quite long, smooth and sweetly drying, with more smoke coming through in the pleasing aftertaste.
Overall “Like Oban, only more so. A well-balanced and very more-ish dram that makes a fine all-rounder.”

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

Thursday, 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

Round three of Diageo’s “Manager’s Choice” whiskies is being release

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

I’ve written about the first and second releases here. Below you’ll find the info on the third release, taken from their press release.


Following the first batch launched in September, and a second collection released in January, Diageo are now launching the third batch of their single-cask collection of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, The Managers’ Choice.

Among the seven expressions that feature in this third release are several single malts familiar to many malt whisky drinkers – Caol Ila™, Glenkinchie™, Glen Ord™ and Royal Lochnagar™.

But Dailuaine™, Inchgower™ and Mannochmore™ 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.

The fourth and final release is scheduled for May.

Contact for further information: Patrick Roberts at

The Managers’ Choice: Round 2

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

To get the full perspective, before you proceed, you really should read my blog post (and record-breaking 175 comments) on Round 1 here.

The press release below was supposedly embargoed until Monday.  But, since the cat’s already out of the bag, Diageo notified me today that I could post it up now. They did note, however, that the details on this second release probably won’t be up on their site until Monday.

Yesterday, I spoke with Nick Morgan, who oversees the limited edition and special releases. He told me that the bottles are already at the retailers in the UK and will get into circulation next week. The will eventually work their way into the rest of Europe within weeks. (Nothing for the U.S., sadly.) Nick also told me that Round 1 was successful and that most, if not all, of the bottles have been sold.

Just like Round 1, I’ll be getting samples of this batch. (It will take a while, with all the red tape.) I’ll let you know my thoughts after I taste them. Here are my tasting notes from Round 1.

So, what do you all think? Have you calmed down since the first release back in October? Has anyone tasted any of the whiskies from the first round?

Press Release:

Monday 11th January 2010

Diageo launches the next batch of their first-ever single-cask collection of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies


Following the first batch launched in September, Diageo have announced that the second batch of their single-cask collection of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies has arrived.

The project encompasses all 27 of Diageo’s Single Malts  -  the first time that Scotland’s biggest estate of Single Malt distilleries has issued a comprehensive series of single-cask bottlings. Labelled The Managers’ Choice, each distillery is represented by a very restricted bottling of its Single Malt Whisky drawn from one single cask, selected after a careful examination of distillery stocks.

The rare limited-edition series is aimed at collectors and connoisseurs who will enjoy owning and exploring an unusual expression of their favourite Single Malt or even a whole anthology of highly individual Single Malts, chosen to represent a unique take on each of the 27 distilleries’ distinctive distillery character.

The releases are being staged in four batches over several months. September 2009 saw the first release of six malts: Cardhu™ (1997), Glen Elgin™ (1998), Linkwood™ (1996), Mortlach™ (1997), Oban™ (2000) and Teaninich™ (1996).

This second release comprises of:

Blair Athol™




Glen Spey™



For each Malt, the cask was nosed, tasted, discussed and finally chosen as a highly distinctive expression of that distillery’s Single Malts by a judging panel of acknowledged experts, including leading maturation experts and the distillery managers themselves.

In many cases, unusual cask woods will have had their influence on the final result. Perfect maturation and spirit quality have been the criteria, resulting in a bottling that delights with original and sometimes unexpected flavours whilst allowing the distillery character to still shine through.

Depending on the size of the cask and the rate of evaporation over the years since it was filled, the volume of bottles obtained can vary between approximately 600 and as little as 200.These are, consequently, extremely rare and distinctive whiskies.

Each cask is bottled at its natural cask strength.   This means that the liquid the connoisseur pours into his or her glass is exactly as it emerged directly from the cask when it was hand-picked a few months earlier by the experts – it’s as good as a dram drawn from the cask in the warehouse itself.

Classic Malts Selection spokesperson Nick Morgan said: “As we said last year when the first batch of The Managers’ Choice was launched, this is the most extensive collection we’ve ever released of single cask malt whisky bottlings, from all 27 of our operational malt distilleries. 

“Our announcement last September provoked a great deal of interest and comment. The release was a huge success, with a number of customers asking for more allocation. It met all our commercial expectations: in some territories, these bottlings turned out to be the fastest-selling limited-edition single malt whisky bottlings we have ever launched. We expect the second batch, which like before offers both celebrated and lesser-known single malt whiskies, will also be very well received.”

Full details, including tasting notes, will displayed on the Classic Malts Selection™ website The updated website content includes the story of The Managers’ Choice and the selection process, a “Meet the Managers” page where they talk about The Managers Choice collection & questions related to the world of whisky, whisky tasting notes & audio, Q&A with a Sensory Expert, and details of where to buy the whiskies. Whisky enthusiasts registered as Friends of the Classic Malts™ have been given advance notice of the launch.



Release dates

Stocks of the new releases are now available in UK specialist retailers. Retailers in Northern European markets (Germany, Switzerland and the Netherland) will be receiving stock in the course of January.

Release details – second release

Blair Athol™ November 1995 570 Bodega Sherry European Oak
  Butter scotch nose, with sweet, deep burnt flavours.
Cragganmore™ May 1997 246 Bodega Sherry European Oak
  An oaky fruity aroma with a warm dry finish,
Dalwhinnie™ February 1992 270 Refill American Oak
  Orange marmalade aromas with smooth bitter notes.
Dufftown™ May 1997 282 Rejuvenated American Oak
  Warm fruit cake aromas with a gentler smooth taste.
Glen Spey™ January 1996 276 New American Oak
  Toasted almonds with a warm finish.
Strathmill™ December 1996 300 New American Oak
  Fresh springtime aromas with caramel on the palette.
Talisker™ December 1994 582 Bodega Sherry European Oak
  Soft peat smoke, with lots of apple sweetness.


Pack shots are available – contact Pat Roberts on +44 (0)7774 424 410 or


The UK RRP are as follows:

Blair Athol £200
Cragganmore £250
Dalwhinnie £250
Dufftown £200
Glen Spey £200
Strathmill £200
Talisker £300


See for full details of the release, including interviews with many of those involved in the selection process

Diageo’s distilleries

Diageo has 28 operational single malt whisky distilleries, but spirit distilled at Diageo’s new distillery at Roseisle is not available yet.

Craig Wallace

Full interview with Craig Wallace, and other details of the first The Managers’ Choice releases, can be downloaded from: ResponseSource:


The Managers’ Choice bottlings are available from specialist retailers in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands only.

After a weekend full of bourbon, three things: scotch, beer, and…

Monday, October 26th, 2009

The flu!! I somehow picked this up during my weekend with the Heaven Hill folks.


084Here’s the scotch. They arrived while I was gone. They’re samples of the most recent Diageo special release single malts. They look very tempting, don’t they?







086And here are the beers, which also showed up. They’re from Midnight Sun brewery in Alaska. One of my side jobs is that I review beer for America’s largest beer magazine, All About Beer.






So, for the next few days, these fine beverage are going to have to sit there and collect dust. I’m not sure who gave it (the flu) to me or what kind it is, but it sucks!

Still, I have fond memories of my weekend with the Heaven Hill folks, putting a nice dent into their inventory, and that will get me through this.

And don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging. I was going to take the next two days off and go fishing, but now it looks like it’s just me, my laptop, and the TV. (Maybe even a book!) Plus, I reviewed several whiskies (and whiskeys) last week which are in the queue here.

Diageo’s Special Release whiskies for 2009

Monday, October 12th, 2009

I first wrote about some of them them here. Today, I received the formal press release. The link is here. It includes pictures, tasting notes, etc.

Looks like a great list, including three 30 year old gems (Talisker, Brora, and Port Ellen).