Diageo’s coveted Special Releases Whisky Collection – Elusive Expressions has finally arrived on Australian soil and is bringing a boatload of goodness. Running on a fantasy theme, the 2022 collection features ultra-rare cask strength expressions from some of Scotland’s most iconic distilleries, including Talisker, Lagavulin, Oban, and more. All senses are indulged with this truly exemplary range of Scotch whiskies, which tells a story worthy of a film adaptation. Score a bottle before it’s gone because these beauties sell out fast.
Diageo’s 2022 Special Releases Whisky Collection
Like the previous Elusive Expressions, this year’s collection culls inspiration from mystic lore ripped straight out of cult comic books and Scottish mythology. Names such as Mortlach’s ‘The Lure of the Blood Moon’ and Oban’s 10-Year-Old ‘The Celestial Blaze’ ignite the imagination, as do the bespoke label designs from illustrators Kevin Tong and Ken Taylor, each one featuring a unique creature. It’s often said that every whisky tells a story but this annual collection truly runs with the concept to the delight of drinkers and fantasy lovers alike.
Now let’s have a look at the full collection in detail.
Cameron Bridge 26 Year Old
A rarely seen, regal single-grain whisky still in the prime of its years, with a rich, sweet nature lightly influenced by long years in cask and a spicy, peppery finish that comes as a pleasing surprise. Urbane yet determined; sweet and smooth on the surface, but with hot spices bubbling away beneath; quite delicious.
Casks: Refill American oak
Tasting Notes: Rich, sweet nature with a spicy, peppery finish
Price: from AUD$599.99
Cardhu 16 Year Old
A richly honeyed Cardhu with lush, tropically sweet, rum-cask-rounded flavours and peppery wood spice combine to create a vibrant taste of paradise. Light on its feet, lush and sweet while also lively and fresh, with a surprisingly spicy, peppery finish, making it an especially exotic apéritif malt.
Casks: Refill and re-charred American Oak and Jamaican pot still rum seasoned
Tasting Notes: Richly honeyed with tropical fruit flavours, peppery wood spice, and a spicy, peppery finish
Price: from AUD$299.99
Clynelish 12 Year Old
An unusual Clynelish with just a slight trace of waxiness. The finishing casks have added sweetness and spiciness, developing the distillery character in an interesting way. Bright sweet fruitiness combines with intense oakiness to create a Clynelish of radiant sweet-spicy intensity.
Casks: Refill American oak and Pedro Ximénez and oloroso seasoned
Tasting Notes: Sweet fruitiness with intense oakiness and a radiant sweet-spicy intensity
Price: from AUD$350
Lagavulin 12 Year Old
The King of Islay was reborn as a shimmering, flame-garlanded phoenix, fit to power a soaring, deeply smoky expression. An elemental Lagavulin from virgin oak and our smokiest reserves, in which rich, peaty casks lead saltiness, spice, and smoke on their eternal dance with deep sweetness.
Casks: Refilled heavily peated American oak and virgin oak
Tasting Notes: Deeply smoky with saltiness, spice, and smoke with a deep sweetness
Price: from AUD$220
A wonderfully intense, structured Mortlach that ensnares the meaty “Beast of Dufftown” in a deep, spicy, ruby-red fruitiness forged in a highly unusual combination of maturation casks. A deliciously rich expression of Mortlach’s dark, meaty character that draws sweetness, darkness, and depth together in a mystical, intensely fruity union.
Casks: Refill American oak, virgin tawny port, and red muscat seasoned
Tasting Notes: Intense and structured with a deep, spicy, and fruity character
Price: from AUD$425
Oban 10 Year Old
Gentle on the nose, with maritime aromas, this super-natural Oban has a rich personality on the palate; a second maturation in Amontillado casks gently brings new layers of vibrancy and flavour.
Casks: Refill and new American oak and Amontillado seasoned
Tasting Notes: Gentle on the nose with maritime aromas and a rich personality on the palate with new layers of vibrancy and flavour
Price: from AUD$179.99
The Singleton of Glen Ord 15 Year Old
A lively expression of The Singleton of Glen Ord; smooth and sweet, with elegant winey notes intermingled with luscious red fruits, it is also spicy-dry, with a gingery heat.
Casks: Refill American and European oak and wine seasoned
Tasting Notes: Smooth and sweet with elegant winey notes, luscious red fruits, and a gingery heat
Price: from AUD$204.99
Talisker 11 Year Old
Elemental yet also classic in character: maritime malty smokiness merges smoothly with a tide of spice-bright sweetness to form a salt-laced monster that is truly “Made by the Sea”. First-fill ex-bourbon casks gift layers of flavour; a luminous spiced sweetness bathes storm-tossed notes of smoke and sea in its irresistible glow.
Casks: First-fill and refill bourbon and wine seasoned
Tasting Notes: Maritime malty smokiness with spice-bright sweetness and storm-tossed notes of smoke and sea
Price: from AUD$199.99
The range itself breaks down into two overarching categories—Dark and Vivid—and includes the following releases:
- Mortlach ‘The Lure of the Blood Moon’: From the dark side of Dufftown comes to this intense and multi-layered Mortlach expression, which used an atypical combination of maturation casks to generate its rich, spicy, and fruity character.
- Lagavulin 12-Year-Old ‘The Flames of the Phoenix’: Lagavulin goes deep with this 12-year expression and delivers a decadent dance between sweet smoke and salty spice.
- Talisker 11-Year-Old ‘The Lustrous Creature of the Depths’: The maritime influence is palpable in this Talisker statement, as are earthy fruit flavours, radiant spice, and briny smoke.
- Clynelish 12-Year-Old ‘The Golden-Eyed Guardian’: Unique in colour, texture, and taste, this 12-year-old Clynelish strikes the ideal balance between sweetness and spice.
- The Singleton of Glen Ord 15-Year-Old ‘The Enchantress of the Ruby Solstice’: You’ll be enchanted by this Enchantress and its fruity character, wine cask influence, funky accents, and sweet spice.
- Cardhu 16-Year-Old ‘The Hidden Paradise of Black Rock’: Cardhu took inspiration from a Jamaican rum cocktail when crafting this tropical powerhouse of honeyed texture, rum-like flavour, and peppery oak spice.
- Oban 10-Year-Old ‘The Celestial Blaze’: Fiery in the name perhaps, but this distinct expression offers a delicate nose and effortlessly drinkable flavour profile of chocolate bitters and sweet caramel.
- Cameron Bridge 26-Year-Old ‘The Knight’s Golden Triumph’: Aged for 26 long years, this ultra-rare statement makes its first-ever appearance in the Special Releases collection. Luscious notes of creamy caramel and butterscotch give way to a peppery finish. A golden triumph indeed!
Comic Book Bar at Butter
To celebrate the Australian launch of the Special Release Legends Untold: Elusive Expressions collection, Diageo teamed up with Sydney-based diner Butter for an epic pop-up event. It runs from April 27 to April 30 and finds the Surry Hills locale turning into an after-dark comic book bar, complete with manga-themed decorations, a bespoke cocktail book, and all kinds of fantastical creatures. Within this mystical setting, Diageo will introduce the latest cask-strength expressions by way of craft cocktails, whisky flights, and more. Absolute immersion is guaranteed!
Click here to reserve your spot at the launch event. The 2022 Special Releases collection is also available in limited quantities from specialist Scotch whisky retailers and malts.com.
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