Diageo has announced the launch of its first single-cask collection of single malt Scotch whiskies.
This is the first time that Scotland's biggest estate of single malt distilleries has issued a comprehensive series of single-cask bottlings.
Labelled The Managers' Choice, the rare limited-edition series is aimed at collectors and connoisseurs who will enjoy owning and exploring an unusual expression of their favourite single malt or even a whole anthology of highly individual single malts, chosen to represent each of 27 distilleries’ distinctive but authentic whisky signature.
The releases are being staged in batches over the next year. September 2009 sees the first release of six malts:
Cardhu™ distilled 1997 - 252 bottles
Glen Elgin™ distilled 1998 - 534 bottles
Linkwood™ distilled 1996 - 480 bottles
Mortlach™ distilled 1997 - 240 bottles
Oban™ distilled 2000 - 534 bottles
Teaninich™ distilled 1996 - 246 bottles
Each distillery is represented in The Managers’ Choice by a bottling of its single malt whisky drawn from one single cask, selected after a careful examination of distillery stocks.
The cask was nosed, tasted, discussed and finally chosen as the most distinctive expression of that distillery’s single malts by a judging panel of acknowledged experts, including leading maturation experts and the distillery managers themselves.
The single cask challenge
Diageo whisky specialist Craig Wallace (see full interview and pictures) explained the challenge of selecting a single cask for a bottling that will be made available to a discerning and knowledgeable consumer audience:
“When you’re selecting casks for a bigger bottling, you can work with a wider variation of maturity, distillery character and wood influence because you can even it out and aim for consistency.
But when you are bottling a single cask, you can't do that: you have to get the balance totally right when selecting the cask. And it's highly unlikely, whatever single cask you choose this time, that you'd ever be able to replicate that precise flavour profile the next time you look for one. So finding a single cask with just the right balance is actually very challenging.”
Tasting Notes from the website
Bottled: 58.7% ABV
534 bottles produced
Tasting Note: Fresh citrus aromas with smooth sweet finish.
Bottled: 55.3% ABV
Tasting Note: Aromatic, lime zest, sweet fruit and bananas.
Bottled: 61.1% ABV
534 bottles produced
Tasting Note: Sweet and light with citrus and vanilla flavours
Bottled: 57.3% ABV
252 bottles produced
Tasting Note: Vanilla and tangerine aroma with an immediacy of flavour.
Bottled: 58.2% ABV
480 bottles produced
Tasting Note: Well-balanced sweet wood aromas with a smooth, cereal taste.
Bottled: 57.1% ABV
240 bottles produced
Tasting Note: Creamy, sweet vanilla with a long finish.