It’s that time of year once again and last night Diageo invited us to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery to taste the 2015 Special Releases! There are nine this year. That’s two less than last year, which as I’m always up against a bit of a time limit (two hours) to scrawl down some meaningful tasting notes for you all (as well as fight through the crowds and also try to avoid notes from elsewhere – ham, butter, bread, candles, aftershave…) was fine by me! There was, of course, still plenty of stunning whisky on show.
Before we go on, however, I should probably point out that the Special Releases are available for Pre-Order now! You may want to head straight over there. If you do miss out on any of them then keep your eyes on the @MasterOfMalt twitter feed over the next couple of weeks as there may be more available once the bottles land.
Ranging in price from £80 to £2,400, Nick Morgan has gone on record to say that even amongst Special Releases “This year is a special one”. Exciting.
On Tuesday evening I found myself the nearest thing to a corner possible at a curvy and buzzing Magazine Restaurant in Kensington Gardens on a cold, rainy November night. Here I would attempt to write some meaningful tasting notes for 11 limited edition cask strength single malts in a couple of hectic hours, including the time it would take to fight through the crowd each time I needed to move on to new whiskies, and the time it would take for the smell of prawn hors d’oeuvres to dissipate each time the diligent waitresses came over to offer them.
Meanwhile, our Spirits Buyer Toby Cutler (he’s nice, you’d like him – he really enjoys a good picture of Kevin Costner, or Chris Tucker for that matter) was having no such problem as he enjoyed a range of whiskies, some quite valuable, in a leisurely fashion alongside some pleasant conversation. Add all of this up, and it can only mean one thing: it was the launch of Diageo’s much-anticipated 2014 Special Releases!
Back in December I visited the Worship Street Whistling Shop for a very special, two hour long ‘multi-sensory experience’: the final Diageo Whisky Theatre of the year. The project is the work of irrepressible Diageo brand ambassador Colin Dunn and the Fluid Movement duo of Tristan Stephenson and Tom Aske who have presented similar experiences in the past, for example with rum, but the mention of whisky certainly caught our attention immediately! I believe Tristan also has a whisky book coming out this year too – one to watch out for.
There is (just) room for nine people but I was joined by a fab four of Gin Monkey, Imbibe’s Laura Foster (recent winner of the Alan Lodge Young International Spirits Writer of the Year), Siobhan Payne from Difford’s Guide and London Cocktail Week and Alex Kratena off of The Artesian (named The World’s Best Bar for the second year running in 2013).
NB – this news has been strictly embargoed until 13:00 today, so you’ll very likely be seeing some updates to this post as soon as we receive the official press release (as well as some pretty pictures no doubt). Keep checking back folks.
Breaking news: Diageo are to re-launch the ever-popular Mortlach Single Malt into their stable of Permanent single malts in 2014, Master of Malt have been told.
The first phase of the product rollout will cover the UK, France, USA, Asia Pacific, Taiwan, China, Singapore and Global Duty Free beginning in July 2014. The rest of the world will follow.
Categories : News
THE SPECIAL RELEASES ARE NOW LIVE AND CAN BE FOUND HERE!
Got a letter from Diageo the other day. Opened and read it. It was about their Special Releases. They wanted us for their tasting, or whatever. Picture me turning down drams, I said “Hell yeah!”.
We will indeed be stocking all of the 2013 Diageo Special Releases shortly – and yes – they will all be available as 3cl Sample Drams too. You’re welcome. They should be with us any day now, but for more details as they land be sure to keep your eyes glued to the @MasterOfMalt twitter account.
Categories : News
It’s that time of year again – the weather has given up the pretence of caring, the trees are shedding their leaves like a sinking ship sheds ballast, and the sun can’t summon the energy to stay in the sky for longer than is absolutely necessary. Thankfully all is not lost as Diageo are about to release their much anticipated Special Releases Range.
Diageo is a multi-national drinks company that owns twenty-eight working distilleries and the remaining stock of a number of closed ones, and every year they release a selection of limited releases from some of these distilleries.
With such a large portfolio to draw from these whiskies tend to be the cream of the crop and get us whisky geeks slathering at their merest mention [go on, find a whisky geek and mention it, watch it slather…].
So this evening we all trooped to London to taste these high-demand whiskies in the warm and, more importantly, dry confines of The Deck at the National Theatre. Last time I was in this theatre I watched Benedict Cumberbatch (that guy off of Sherlock) prance around the stage as Frankenstein’s monster with nothing but his self-esteem to cover his modesty. This time I came armed with a notebook and pen – ready to record my experience of facing this enormous tackle of whisky.
Last night played host to one of the biggest events in the whisky calendar: the launch of the Diageo Special Releases. This annually released selection showcases the very best whiskies in the global drinks giant’s unrivalled arsenal, including massive crowd pleasers like Lagavulin, Caol Ila, and the legendary Port Ellen.
Unlike Ben, who’s off doing some ‘real work’ in the form of running the Cocktail bar at the Movember Launch Party for 750 people, then doing a sampling of our new Movember Whisky until the small hours, I’ve been lucky enough to sit in a lovely warm room, with lovely warm people, drinking delicious and exclusive whiskies all evening. Also I spend too much on male grooming products and have a penchant for singing about my feelings. I’m also not very competent at sending through images by e-mail, and am currently asleep in my bed, like the weaksauce young man that I am, and hence uncontactable by phone so you’ll notice that the images herein are stock images from Diageo’s Powerpoint presentation. Sorry about that. This paragraph may or may not have been written by me. More…
We’ve been sitting on this one for a few days now, ever since the email from Diageo arrived. In fact, this has been under strict embargo until today! You guessed it folks, Diageo’s 2011 Special Releases!
Every year, the Special Releases mark a particular highlight for us, as the global drinks giant showcases the very crème de la crème of its extensive inventory. This year sees some sure-to-be-stunners, including a 21 year old Rosebank, a 20 year old Port Dundas, and a 40 year old Glenury Royal, not to mention crowd pleasers like the Caol Ila Unpeated, Port Ellen, Brora, and cask strength Lagavulin. Here’s a brief synopsis of what’s to come, starting with our favourite from last year, the Brora… More…
Categories : News