Diageo Special Releases

Posted on Thursday, Jan 13, 2011 at 01:45 AM

bottle pictures



Near the end of each year, for the single-malt gifting season, Diageo unveils their Special Releases -- "a small and highly desirable collection of limited edition single malt Scotch whiskies."


We cracked open all seven of the USA Special Releases, not without a little bit of cynicism. After all, we're typically intent on tasting more off-the-beaten-path scotches that are, shall we snobbishly say, less "promoted." 


Well, I'm (Adam) happy to admit the consensus was that these are, by and large, very good and tasty malts. Sure, the prices could be better, but such are the times. Hmm, perhaps Diageo knows what they're doing... I predict success for this fledgling company!


As a shocker, most-enjoyed was the Glenkinchie 20-year-old. Most-talked-about (and similarly very much enjoyed) was by far the Glen Spey, which presented unusual flavors usually found in bourbons and ryes -- so much so that we're nearly certain there's something extra-unusual about the woods used on this one. If you've got info plese let us know; inquiries are out to Diageo.


scotch whisky bottleAuchroisk 20

Talisker 30

Glen Spey 21

Glenkinchie 20

Caol Ila 12 "Unpeated Style"

Lagavulin 12

Cragganmore 21


Then to finish things up, we continued the Diageo theme with The Directors' Blend -- a special private bottling for Diageo staff in 2005, which contains all of Diageo's scotch distilleries from the time (27 single malts + 2 grain). Finally, we had something to thumb our noses at! Okay, it wasn't terrible, it was a blend, it was special and fun to try, and it was at the end of a long night. Or uh, halfway actually... but that's another story.


(As usual, ratings/notes appear as members motivate). 

The Perfect Dram and The Whisky Agency

Posted on Sunday, Dec 5, 2010 at 09:43 AM

We Los Angelenos have a little difficulty getting to Limburg, Germany each year -- where The Whisky Fair is held. So last March, we dedicated a meeting to bottlings exclusively for the Fair. 

That meeting was such a favorite that it demanded an encore. So this December, we met and explored seven bottlings by The Whisky Fair's sister labels, The Whisky Agency and The Perfect Dram:
As members motivate and enter notes, you'll see that the meeting lived up to expectations. Some of these are still available, get 'em if you can!

Bowmore: Delectable Delights and Decay

Posted on Saturday, Nov 13, 2010 at 09:27 PM

A bottle of Bowmore 30-year-old Seadragon and LA Whiskey Society glassware. 
This November, Chris and I (Adam) needed an excuse to open two great Bowmores that had been collecting dust on our shelves -- a 1970 Signatory 35yo and 1968 Celtic Heartlands. We'd drank and loved both in the past, but never featured them in a LAWS meeting.

So, we threw them in an all-Bowmore lineup, adding the semi-historic Seadragon, an extinct 21yo from the mid 1990s, the always-controversial discontinued 17-year, a random 1984 Cadenhead's bottling, plus a nip of some old Claret and a recent 16yo from The Perfect Dram.

The 1968, Seadragon, and 1970 were the hits of the meeting, with the 1968 being the most-drained at the end of the night. On the other hand, there was the 21. Its God-awful stench seemed to scream, "This bottle is tainted!" Yet our best investigative efforts indicated it wasn't. It just stank like… uh… the most common descriptors were "corpse" and "farts."

Yep. Another good night on the books.
If anyone can help verify that this 21-year-old is indeed as intended by the distillers, shoot us an email. I'll send you a sample… I'm pretty sure none of us will miss it.

Is there such a thing as too much whisky?

Posted on Friday, Oct 29, 2010 at 02:06 PM

No. There is not. But there were so many whisky events in California this October -- WhiskyFest and Whisky Live in particular -- that I (Adam) couldn't schedule a meeting this month. Ah, what a "problem."

Kudos especially to John Hansell for pulling off another spectacular evening in San Francisco. And special thanks to lohssanami and mikeymad for the great hospitality afterwards.

Battle of the Collectors: 2

Posted on Saturday, Sep 18, 2010 at 08:12 PM

photoshopped rendering of Jean Claude Van Damme fighting in the movie  

This September, LAWS tasting meetings officially resumed with a rematch: Chris and I (Adam) stepped into the ring and again duked it out to see who could choose the best bottles from their collections for a blind tasting meeting.

I won the first Battle of the Collectors (last year), and I again defended my title. Whatever that title is, I don't know, but it probably has "Super Awesome Person" somewhere in it. At least, that's what the certificate I'm going to make for myself will say. Let me know if you want a copy.

Leading the charge was a 27-year-old Port Ellen, bottled for the Japanese market.

The rules were: we each had to contribute 3 single malts that were not one of the 1,189 whiskies currently listed on the LAWS website, with a total cost of about $600. One sherried, one traditionally bourbon-casked, and one peated Islay style. Importantly, we couldn't have tried the whiskies before ourselves.

The group tasted all six whiskies blind, and each member assigned a personal rating to each bottle. I got the highest average score, but it was pretty close.  

[Editorial Note by Chris - We were tied based on the first 4 whiskies, and his peated entry beat mine by 1/3 a letter grade.  This is statistically insignificant, and therefore I am also making myself a Super Awesome Person certificate.]

Credit goes to the Duke for having all his bottles actually being long-gone collectibles. My approach was solely for flavor while ignoring release dates. If we do this again, I think the new rule should be that bottles must have been off shelves for a minimum number of years.

 Adam  Chris

 Port Ellen 1982 The Taster    Ardbeg 1974 CC

 Glenury Royal 1968 Tullibardine 1973 Signatory

"Speyside's Finest Distillery" OMC Cardhu 1975 Signatory 


(As usual, ratings/reviews will appear as members motivate). 

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