It was the beginning of 2011 when we last had a meeting featuring the annual Diageo Special Releases. Back then, our writeup remarked, "Sure, the prices could be better, but such are the times." Ah, yes. The most "expensive" of them was the Port Ellen 11th release... for $450, which would be a bargain today. Fast-forward to 2016 -- the new Port Ellen 15th Release retails for $4k in the US, the Brora 37 year old goes for $2300. There's even an NAS Clynelish for $900.
We don't like discussing pricing, but every year the Special Releases seem to merit it. Still, we'll be the first people to remind you that there is little correlation between flavor and price. And the idea that higher-priced single malts are of "higher quality" is ignorant if not completely meaningless.
As you might expect, the Brora and Port Ellen stole the night. Surprising was the Pittyvaich, which many of us found unusual but really tasty, and The Cally, which showed very well for a single grain. All of them were enjoyed to one extent or another, except the Dalwhinnie which most felt was not bad in any way, but just boring. You can read tasting notes by clicking on each whiskey.
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Adam: This box has been mostly empty for a long time now. There just aren't any excellent, recently-released, readily-available must-try whiskeys out there that we all agree on. We’re talking about truly great whiskies, not o... More