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Diageo's 2013 Special Releases

Category - Spirits, whisky, Scotch, single malt, ten of: a 37-year-old Lagavulin (1,868 bottles available, 51% abv); a 12-year-old Lagavulin (55.1% abv); a 28-year-old Talisker (3,000 bottles, 56.1% abv); a 21-year-old Cardhu (6,000 bottles, 54.2% abv); a 28-year-old The Singleton of Dufftown (3,816 bottles, 52.3% abv); a 36-year-old Convalmore (2,980 bottles, 58% abv); a 21-year-old Oban (2,860 bottles, 58.5% abv); Caol Ila “Stitchell Reserve” (59.6% abv); a 34-year-old Port Ellen (2,958 bottles, 55% abv); a 35-year-old Brora (2,944 bottles, 49.9% abv)

Available - From this autumn

Location - From specialist retailers in Northern Europe, in selected Asian markets and in the US.

Price - Ranging from GBP70 (US$109) for Caol Ila to GBP1,950 for the 37-year-old Lagavulin

Distribution - Diageo

Every autumn Diageo releases a collection of limited-edition single malt Scotch whiskies. Ten such single malt whiskies are being released this year.

The oldest is the 37-year-old Lagavulin, which is the oldest Lagavulin the distillery has released, Diageo said today (3 September). Also included are a 34-year-old Port Ellen and a 35-year-old Brora. Both of these distilleries closed down in 1983.

“Many would accept that Port Ellen and Brora are among the world’s rarest single malt whiskies still being released,” Nick Morgan, Diageo’s head of whisky outreach, said.

Last year's releases included a 35-year-old Talisker.

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Diageo has announced the ten Single Malt Whiskies that form its annual limited-edition Special Releases for 2013.

In the words of Nik Keane, global director for malt whiskies at Diageo, they represent “some of the most sought after, valuable and collectible Single Malt Scotch Whiskies in the world”.

The oldest in the collection is a Lagavulin™ at 37 years old and distilled in 1976 – the oldest expression of Lagavulin ever released by the distillers, in a dramatically limited edition of fewer than 2,000 bottles. It is flanked by a lively 12 year old Lagavulin.

Georgie Crawford, distillery manager at Lagavulin, said: “Lagavulin is probably the most sought-after single malt whisky in production today  -  universally acknowledged as one of the unchallenged grands crus of Scotch Whisky. For many years we have been unable to supply sufficient mature spirit to meet worldwide demand. So bottlings of old Lagavulin are exceptionally rare, and this year’s 37 year old is the oldest that we have ever released. Its 12 year old younger brother makes a regular appearance in the Special Releases, and has always been received with huge enthusiasm.”

Further North, from the Isle of Skye, 3,000 individually numbered bottles of a classic and sophisticated Talisker™ distilled in 1985 are destined to be much in demand from adorers of this legendary single malt.

Three grown-up whiskies make the case for Speyside.  An unusually mature example of Cardhu™, presented at 21 years old in fewer than 6,000 individually numbered bottles, will suggest an interesting comparison with the 22 year old Cardhu own bottling released in 2005. The 28 year old bottling of The Singleton of Dufftown™ is the first limited cask strength edition of The Singleton in this series with just 3,840 individually numbered bottles. And bottled at 36 years old, the very rare Convalmore™ – from the Dufftown distillery that ceased production in 1985 – makes a welcome reappearance, carrying  a few more years since its last much-acclaimed showing in the Special Releases back in 2005, this time in a smaller edition of only 3,000 bottles.

For lovers of West Coast Single Malt Whiskies, Oban™ is represented by a 21 year old from rejuvenated American Oak and a second fill in ex-Bodega casks. Another complex maturation regime lies behind the 8th unpeated limited edition of Caol Ila™ which this year proudly carries the subtitle “Stitchell Reserve” in honour of the long-serving distillery manager Billy Stitchell, due to retire this year.  “Refill American Oak, rejuvenated American Oak and ex-bodega European Oak have all played a role in creating this special Caol Ila,” explains Billy. “It has a firm, clean and fresh style, finishing with aromatic, spicy and drying notes.”

Ultra-rare bottlings from another two long-closed distilleries complete the line-up in this year’s releases. A 34 year old Port Ellen™, the 13th and oldest release from the original distillers, comes in an edition of fewer than 3,000 individually numbered bottles, as does the equally desirable Highland East Coast 35 year old Brora™, from casks filled in 1977. Both bottlings are destined to excite collectors and connoisseurs.

Nick Morgan, Diageo’s head of whisky outreach,  commented: “Stocks of Brora and Port Ellen are inexorably diminishing. Each year’s limited-edition bottling releases one more fragment of whisky history that is unique, and can’t ever be replaced. This puts Port Ellen and Brora in a different category from most other very old single malts  -  mainly from operating distilleries  -  that  are on the market, often at very high  prices. On top of that, Port Ellen and Brora are not merely rare, old and in great demand – they are judged by most qualified commentators to be of outstanding quality, and this year’s edition will be no exception.

“Indeed, many would accept that Port Ellen and Brora are among the world’s rarest Single Malt Whiskies still being released.”

Original source: Company Release