The fabulous MoM film crew headed up to Scotch at The Balmoral in Edinburgh to capture the joy of three whisky experts tasting the 2020 Diageo Special Releases, once again themed ‘Rare by Nature’. 

Cast your minds back to August 2020, when Diageo released its eagerly-awaited annual Special Releases. The collection of cask strength Scotch whiskies didn’t disappoint – it brought back the ‘Rare by Nature’ theme, which first appeared in the 2019 collection, with the same distilleries making an appearance, too. The liquid was all new, however, so there were surprises among the familiarity. We were lucky enough to have Diageo whisky brand ambassador TJ Littlejohn, bar manager at The Balmoral Cameron Ewen, and bar manager at The Devil’s Advocate Stefanie Anderson on hand to sip us through five of these stellar expressions. 

Diageo Special Releases 2020 - group image bottles

Some tasty drams here!

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Cardhu 11 Year Old with Cameron Ewen

Here’s what we said about it:

On the nose, this is a pretty juicy, wood-forward wonder, rounded out with loads of green fruit (mouth-watering apple especially), and some boiled sweets – pear drops and rhubarb and custard. On the palate, it’s creamy, buttery and lifted by a smidge of pepper. The finish is long, lingering and warming.

Dalwhinnie 30 Year Old with TJ

Here’s what we said about it:

A mega-aged Dalwhinnie, often thought of as the gentle dram. And this continues its reputation! The nose is soft, herbal and shortbread-led, while the palate comes through with soft sweet spices – a smidge of cinnamon with a helping of orchard fruit. The finish plays up on the spices.

Lagavulin 12 Year Old with Stefanie Anderson

Here’s what we said about it:

An earthy delight! This packs an ashy punch, with pronounced smoky notes, but with lashings of boiled sweets, too. It’s lively, packed full of sweet spices, and there’s a vanilla ice cream cone note in with all the medicinal qualities. The finish is super long, with waft after waft of smoke.

Singleton of Dufftown 17 Year Old with TJ

Here’s what we said about it:

A more chilled out expression, but still all-around delicious. The nose is waxy with honeycomb and magnolia vibes, while on the palate there’s a cream soda suggestion, along with British orchard fruits. The medium finish has hints of ginger, too.

Talisker 8 Year Old with Stefanie Anderson

Here’s what we said about it:

The expression of Special Releases 2020 for us. And the first from the distillery to be matured in ex-pot still Caribbean rum casks! It’s aromatic and smoke-led, but with pear drop, seaweed and even a meatiness on the nose, too. The palate adds in tropical fruit hints and peppery spices, while the finish blends in chilli pepper, too.