Many of us can’t wait to travel again, but for those living in Southeast Asia it still seems like something we can only do in the distant future. Until then, we have to find other ways to explore the world and visit our favourite destinations. Watching TV series set in exotic or exciting places is one such way, thank you Netflix. Listening to music or eating delicious food are other popular methods of daydreaming. One can also travel with the help of some of the best single malt whiskies in the world. Destination? Scotland, of course. Home to Golf, James Bond, and the Loch Ness monster.
For its annual 2020 Special Releases Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection, Diageo put together a range of exciting single malts from different ages that takes you to 4 different regions of Scotland. These regions have their own geographical features, giving each whisky a distinct experience. Let’s travel from the diverse highlands to the fertile glens, the river of Speyside and the peaty islands of Islay and Skye.
This is Scotland’s most rugged area with lochs, rivers and mountains, great for hiking, fishing or completely switching off. The Highlands is the largest whisky producing area as well as the most diverse. From this area, Diageo chose a 30-year-old whisky from the Dalwhinnie distillery, one of the highest distilleries in Scotland located in… Dalwhinnie. Its uniqueness comes from the fact that no other distillery may use the water from a lake nearby. Lochan na Doire-uaine is a gathering of pure snowmelt and rainwater high in the Drumochter Hills. The little village is also one of the coldest places in the UK. One would definitely need a Dalwhinnie to stay warm.
Dalwhinnie 30 Years Old, Dalwhinnie
A fine Dalwhinnie with astonishing intensity for its age; even more vibrant and warming than younger expressions, it is easiest enjoyed with a drop of water.
This area in the Northeast of Scotland around the river Spey, Scotland’s third longest and fastest flowing river, is a region within the Highlands and counts 60 distilleries; the highest number of distilleries in Scotland. For the 2020 Special Releases, five whiskies were chosen from different villages around Speyside. Within 30 minutes of each other you find the villages of Dufftown, Knockando, and Ballindalloch that all host one or more of this year’s selected single malts. From Dufftown, no less than three whiskies were chosen, whereas the villages of Knockando and Ballindalloch both provide one each.
The Singleton, 17 Years Old, Dufftown
A first release purely from refill American Oak casks, this is a spicier expression of the smooth Singleton Dufftown distillery character, in which the signature grassy fruitiness is still present, especially if water is added.
Mortlach 21 Years Old, Dufftown
Magnificent in every way, this is a fine Mortlach, further enhanced by gentle secondary maturation. Very fine to drink straight and also with a small dash of water. This single malt is also the backbone of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.
Pittyvaich 30 Years Old, Dufftown
A unique expression of a ‘ghost’ malt, this is a spectacular and delicious Pittyvaich, the only one ever released to have been finished in ex-bourbon casks, which impart real richness of taste and sweetness of character. This whisky is extra special since the Distillery has been closed.
Cardhu 11 Years Old, Knockando
A unique expression of Cardhu, from refill casks and new and ex-bourbon fresh-charred American Oak hogsheads, which holds the Cardhu gentleness and richness in a spicy embrace but still allows that gentleness to be found, especially with water.
Cragganmore 20 Years Old, Ballindalloch
An appetizing Cragganmore, with the expected complex aromas and smooth Speyside character, while the rich, sweet taste is also unusually intense and wood-spiced after part-ageing in new oak casks.
Isle of Skye
Scotland counts around the 900 islands and Skye is one of the more mountainous ones located in the northwest of the country and host to one of the more well-known distilleries, Talisker, in the little village of Carbost on the bank of Loch Harport.
Talisker 8 Years Old, Carbost
A Talisker with a great deal of the expected maritime distillery character and a delightful twist of sweetness from the Caribbean rum cask finish.
Islay is a small island in the southwest corner of Scotland and only 40 kms from the Northern Irish coast. The climate is a bit milder here from the rest of Scotland due to the Gulf Stream, but it can also get the full force of the North Atlantic and therefore rather windy. The island is known for its peaty single malts and home to the famous Lagavulin distillery.
Lagavulin, 12 years Old, Port Ellen
A 12-Year-Old Lagavulin chosen for its purity of cask expression alone and a true individual; smooth-textured and soaring in taste and intensity, with a long and deeply smoky finish.
2020 Special Releases Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection
The 2020 Special Releases Collection is an exclusive selection comprising eight cask strength Single Malt Scotch whiskies drawn from some of Scotland’s most beloved distilleries.
The highly anticipated annual collection once again explores unusual age points, experimental maturation techniques and welcomes Diageo’s first-ever release finished in pot-still Caribbean rum casks. The encore theme highlights the extraordinary nature that surrounds each distillery, with each whisky visually brought to life through intricate illustrations that decorate the bottles.
If you have trouble choosing your whisky, here are some personal tips from Dr Craig Wilson, Diageo’s Master Blender.
“I’ve created this Special Releases Collection from some of my favorite distilleries across Scotland, with whisky enthusiasts in mind. For those who enjoy spicy flavors, my recommendation would be to try our Cardhu, and for those who favour rich, intense and smooth flavors, my choice would be Mortlach 21-Year-Old. If you are curious about discovering something very rare, the Pittyvaich — the single ghost distillery in our Special Releases Collection this year is an unforgettable dram.”
The 2020 Special Releases Collection is available in limited quantities. Whisky enthusiasts can purchase the collection by contacting Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia at [email protected].