Monday 8 May 2023

Diageo Special Releases 2022 [Tasted #628 - 635]

It's that time of the year when Diageo unveils its annual Special Releases, albeit for us down under, it's a six-month delay from our northern hemisphere brethren.

Diageo has unveiled its annual Special Releases for 2022, which continue with the mythical theme similar to last year’s special releases. The 2022 series dubbed ‘Elusive Expressions’ sees Illustrator Ken Taylor back again, this time joined by a fellow visual artist, Kevin Tong. Ken Taylor was the Illustrator behind last year’s Fable theme illustrations.

While this year’s theme may be similar to last year’s, the lineup for the 2022 Special Releases is slightly different to last year’s. The 2022 Special Releases see Cameronbridge feature as part of the lineup as well as many familiar distilleries.

When the sample set arrived, Marto was in town and we decided that it would be heaps of fun to split the sample do a joint tasting and combine our notes. While there are some clear favourites amongst us, it was fun to compare the notes for the eight whiskies from the 2022 series. Though, from the entire series, there was one distillery that came out on top.

Here we go...

An interesting Cardhu 16yo, 56%, finished in Jamaican Rum casks. A$299

Martin: Pear, apple and hints of peach on the nose are complimented by a slight herbal note. On the palate, some subtle strawberries & cream notes along with hints of oak, following through to the long finish. 90.

Hendy: Tropical notes on the nose with some mango, and pineapple. Some hints of apples and stone fruits. The palate is soft and creamy, with loads more apples with some strawberries added. The spices appear gradually and slowly evolve into a nice milky chocolate finish. 91.

Oban 10yo, 57.1%, finished in ex-sherry and amontillado-seasoned casks. A$179.99

MartinA herbal grassiness and slight saline smoked note on the nose, followed by a fairly simple, slightly salted beef note with underlying red berry notes. A long and warming finish with residual oak to the end. 87.

Hendy: The nose is quite fruity, apples, berries and grapes. Spices kick on the palate followed by the apples, and pears. The palate evolves with some chocolate mixed with some berries and pepper. The finish is long and warming and similar to Marto's note, quite an oaky finish. 90.

An unusual 12yo Clynelish, 58.5% ABV, matured in refill American Oak, then finished in PX/Oloroso seasoned casks. A$350

Martin: Baked apple pie with vanilla on the nose. Things are a bit more robust on the palate, with more of the expected notes from a sherry finish - nuttiness, a robust toffee note, some red berries and a hint of red apple. A long finish, slightly drying at the end. 90.

Hendy: Stewed apples and vanilla custard flows through the nose. You can also smell a hint of apple turnovers. The palate is fulsome and viscous, with apples, and raisins coming through from the apple turnover. There are some peppermint spices that follow. The finish is nice and round with remnants of white pepper spice and a layer of chocolate. 90.

Singleton of Glen Ord
A 15yo The Singleton of Glen Ord, 54.2% ABV, aged in refill American and European Oak, then double matured in wine-seasoned casks. This was one of my highlights from the 2022 series. A$199

Martin: The rich, robust but fruity nose is a welcome departure from the rest of the range tasted so far. Raspberries and strawberries, and after time some green apple. On the palate, cranberries and raisins are coated in milk chocolate, leading to a long and consistent finish. 91.

Hendy: Nice and fruity, raspberries, oranges, and stone fruits. The palate is soft at first and the spices gradually build. The fruits have come out again, apples, raspberries and stoned fruits. The spices remain for some time, into a somewhat long finish with a nice milk chocolate undertone. 92.

A rich and fruity NAS Mortlach, 57.8% ABV, finished in Tawny Port, Red Muscat and Virgin Oak casks. A$425

Martin: Rich and expressive on the nose, I wouldn't call it 'meaty', but it's definitely 'robust'. A well-polished palate that suggests some age, set against the backdrop of spicy, drying red fruit notes on the palate, and long, lingering raspberry on the finish. 90.

Hendy: Rich and fruity, baked apple pie with apple bits, and some glazed cherries on a warm baked loaf cake. The palate is quite welcoming with rich spices, more of the stewed apples from the apple pie, some berries and salted caramel brittle. The nutmeg and pepper spices continue to build and gradually disappear leaving an oaky, berry finish. 91.

Talisker 11-Year-Old, 55.1% ABV, matured in first-fill ex-bourbon, refill, and wine-seasoned casks. A$199

Martin: Youthful saline smoke on the nose, leading to slightly herbal salted beef notes with a slight medicinal salinity. The palate follows the nose, with the herbal, grassy, saline smoke notes. The finish is long but a little thin, leading to residual dry smoke notes. 88.

Hendy: Quite briney and full of sud, dry seaweed amongst bonfire smoke. There are some subtle herbal notes as well on the nose. The palate is sweet but quite simple. There is some apple and cinnamon with very light nutmeg spice. The finish is slightly herbaceous and oaky but does linger for a while. 89.

A 12yo Lagavulin, 57.3% ABV, matured in virgin oak casks and our smokiest reserves. A$229.99

Martin: A classic and thankfully, this one doesn't disappoint. Whilst the nose is lighter than you might expect (albeit with classic Lagavulin DNA still showing through). On the palate, things come to life, with briney Islay peat and complex chocolate orange amidst seaspray-soaked ropes. A long and smoked citrus finish rounds things out. 91.

Hendy: Earthy and Briny. The nose reeks of sea brine and salted fish. There are remnants of bonfire smoke by the beach. The palate is quite distinct to the nose, the sweetness of toffee green apple comes through with some milk chocolate. There is also some mulchy earth with black pepper spices and oak notes. The finish is quite tarry, there is an earthy oaky undertone but overall, the sweetness of the milk chocolate remains. 91.

For the first time ever, Cameronbridge 26yo single grain whisky, 56.2%ABV, finished in refill American oak. A$599.99

Martin: Citrus tea notes on the nose give way to a more drying, but rich palate with notes of stone fruits (pear, apple, peach) and drying oak. I found the finish reasonably short, with those stone fruit notes carrying through to the end. 88.

Hendy: Sweet milk chocolate, some nougat and toffee apple on the nose. The palate is equally as creamy, milky - milk chocolate. Some Ribena juice gradually follows followed with mint spices and shortbread. The finish is minty and oaky and the milky notes continue for some while. 90.

Hendy (and Marto)

Thank you to Diageo and Example for sending us the Diageo Special Releases 2022 Collection kit for us to spend some time with.

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