Last night we were treated to a highly classified tasting of Diageo’s Special Releases 2018 line-up. Yes, we felt like secret agents – and yes, the whole thing was GOOOOOOOOD. We’ve got the lowdown on [most of] the whiskies for you, right here, right now.

First up… We’re publishing this post a little sooner than expected. We pinky-promised to keep all the Special Releases secrets shtumn until 12 September, i.e. the official press launch date. But! This afternoon we were alerted that not every drinks writer is as good as keeping secrets as we are. Boo. But it DOES mean we can now bring you some details of how the Special Releases 2018 line-up actually tastes!

Every year the Special Releases collection gets tongues (and taste buds) wagging. The [usually] 10-strong collection of Scotch whiskies from an array of Diageo distilleries is a showcase of cask-strength deliciousness, a celebration of flavour, and there’s often one of two unusual bottlings thrown in for good measure… This year was no exception.

There may have been two noticeable absentees in the form of Port Ellen and Brora, but don’t fear. There’s plenty to tempt whisky fans the world over when Special Releases 2018 officially hits the shelves next month.

For those of you who like a Special Releases surprise, fear not. News of nine bottlings might have been out in the wild since April, but a mysterious 10th remains just that. A mystery. Well… almost. We tasted the liquid last night, but in true secret agent style, if we told you about it now, we’d have to kill you. All we will say is, it’s delicious. You’ll like it. But you’ll have to wait until 12 September for more on that front…

Check back then for full tasting notes and details. But until then, here’s a Special Releases 2018 sneak peek!

Diageo Special ReleasesSpecial Releases 2018: Yes, we know we’re being a tease!

Special Releases 2018: The line-up in brief

Caol Ila Unpeated 15 Year Old – ABV 59.1%
It’s a buttery, marmalade-on-toast delight. Creamy chocolate, tropical fruits. Pretty damn tasty.
Region: Islay
Cask: Refill & rejuvenated American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts
Limited quantities worldwide

Caol Ila 35 Year Old – ABV 58.1%
The Grande Dame. Elegant strawberry and cream with a swoosh of paraffin smoke.
Region: Islay
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads & refill European oak butts
No of bottles: 3,276

Carsebridge 48 Year Old – ABV 43.2%
Raspberry ice cream with a cinnamon wafer. Blackcurrant and banoffee pie. A delight.
Region: Lowlands
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads
No. of bottles: 1,000

Inchgower 27 Year Old – ABV 55.3%
A tropical fruit salad with an oily oak character. Oodles of orange peel, too.
Region: Speyside
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads
No of bottles: 8,544

Lagavulin 12 Year Old – ABV 57.8%
Iconic Lagavulin bonfire embers with toasted marshmallows, salted caramel and bitter orange.
Region: Islay
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads
Limited quantities available worldwide

Oban 21 Year Old – ABV 57.9%
Petrichor, rich tea biscuits, blood orange and rocket leaf. A refreshing one.
Region: Highlands
Cask: Refill European oak butts
Limited availability worldwide

Pittyvaich 28 Year Old – ABV 52.1%
Custard creams, fresh barley, baked apples, cinnamon.
Region: Speyside
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads
No of bottles: 4,680

The Singleton Glen Ord 14 Year Old – ABV 57.6%
Dusty florals, salt dough, cola cubes, rich, dark fruits.
Region: Highlands
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts followed by a unique maturation and marrying process
Limited quantities available worldwide

Talisker 8 Year Old – ABV 59.4%
Bonjela gel, pineapple, roast pork, blackcurrant and apple pie, metallic smoke.
Region: Island
Cask: First fill ex-bourbon American oak hogsheads
Limited availability worldwide

That’s all for now, folks. Stay tuned for 12 September!