To not be confused with the far costlier Diageo Particular Version Releases, Diageo’s Distillers Edition whiskies are extra accessible (learn: reasonably priced) but in addition launched on a (largely) annual foundation. Whereas usually we see these a bit randomly, this yr we have been lucky to obtain the complete assortment of 2021 Distillers Editions, six whiskies in whole from a number of the greatest names in Scotch — every of which was despatched with a companion candle created with the respective whisky.
The concept with the Distillers Version Assortment, which received began in 1997, is that it’s, per Diageo, “an annual launch of Traditional Single Malts, every double-matured in a unique sort of cask wooden chosen fastidiously by Grasp Blenders to enrich the traits of the whisky. Utilizing every distillery’s core providing as the bottom and underscoring the unparalleled craftsmanship and unmatched experience required by world-class distillers and blenders, Distillers Version bottlings complement every distillery’s conventional character whereas offering whisky adorers an opportunity to discover the dynamic taste potentialities of those beloved distilleries.”
To translate that, every of those begins with an off-the-shelf spirit like Lagavulin 16, then finishes it additional in a singular cask sort for an unspoken size of time. All clear?
Right here’s a take a look at the complete Distillers Version lineup for 2021.
Oban Distillers Version 2021 – Distilled 2007 – 14 years outdated, completed in Montilla fino sherry cask wooden. A bit sweeter on the nostril than the basic Oban 14, although these calmly natural, dry sherry-driven notes do choose up because the whisky opens up slightly. A slight saltiness kicks off the palate, once more pairing effectively with that fino sherry factor, recalling clear linens and white flowers. Notes of baked apples and a few graham cracker character give the end a definite fruitiness, although there’s ample sea spray and a touch of chimney smoke right here to remind you of Oban’s distinctive coastal state of affairs. 86 proof. A- / $100 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Talisker Distillers Version 2021 – Distilled 2011 – Talisker 10 years outdated, completed in Amoroso sherry casks — a uncommon sort of sherry that’s made by mixing oloroso with some Pedro Ximenez inventory. This can be a burly and pushy dram, exceedingly nutty on the nostril whereas additionally infused closely with smoky peat — greater than you get from a typical shot of Talisker. Deep and wealthy layers of sherry-soaked raisins and toffee are expressive right here and on the palate, which grows in depth and complexity because it evolves within the glass. Extra nuts right here, and a few spice, with the pungency of fruity PX lingering on the end. A definite diversion from normal Talisker 10 that basically grows on you over time. 91.6 proof. A- / $85 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Lagavulin Distillers Version 2021 – Distilled 2006 – Lagavulin 16 that’s completed in Pedro Ximenez casks. The PX has carried out an actual quantity on Lagavulin right here this yr, tempering the aggressive peatiness with an awesome, raisiny, and syrupy sweetness. The mix is, effectively, slightly bizarre this time round, the 2 sides struggling for dominance and no clear winner ever rising. The palate exudes sherry first, then swings again the opposite approach to supply a slug of maritime sea spray and coal mud, and so they battle to get alongside. A gritty ashiness ultimately offers approach to a considerably gummy sweetness, the figs and raisins on the core of the whisky feeling by some means overripened and infused with floral notes that really feel misplaced. The mix right here simply doesn’t work in addition to it did in 2020. 86 proof. B / $110 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Cragganmore Distillers Version 2021 – Distilled 2009 – Cragganmore 12 completed in Port casks. Feels like combo, and it’s: powerfully fruity on the nostril, however filtered by means of touches of leather-based and rug store. Surprisingly floral because it develops within the glass, with dried potpourri the strongest factor. The palate is extremely candy with notes of honey, ripe plums, and contemporary citrus, with notes of toasted, sweetened cereal and a few coconut husk giving the spirit some restraint. Traditional Cragganmore spice pushes by means of on the end, melding superbly with all of the fruit within the combine. 80 proof. A / $90 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Dalwhinnie Distillers Version 2021 – Distilled 2006 – 15 yr outdated Dalwhinnie, with an oloroso sherry end. Oddly, we’ve by no means formally reviewed Dalwhinnie 15, so there’s no written comparability right here to look to save lots of different Distillers Edition bottlings. That stated, the outer Speyside distillery isn’t essentially the most complicated malt available on the market, however slightly sherry goes a good distance towards lifting issues up. An fragrant core of coconut and vanilla, well-infused with tangerine and grapefruit notes, affords a contemporary, partaking approach to kick issues off. A sharper, extra conventional sherry punch — half citrus, half leather-based — informs the wealthy palate, well-sweetened (however approachable) notes of butter cookies and a delicate spice cupboard notice represented on the end. 86 proof. A- / $95 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Glenkinchie Distillers Version 2021 – Distilled 2009 – Lowlands-born Glenkinchie 12 with an amontillado sherry end. A little bit of an oddball on this assortment, however nonetheless a extremely partaking, uncommon malt. The softer type of Glenkinchie will get an enormous increase from the amontillado, pungent on the nostril with that woody, winey, and well-oxidized character. Fairly nutty, with notes of darkish chocolate and a touch of brooding fire ash. The palate retains the theme going — once more that winey character dominating, with notes of orange peel muddled into the combination. The spirit is each sharp and nutty because the end develops, by no means actually letting go of its grip. Positively one I want I’d had a bigger pattern to work from. 86 proof. B+ / $90 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]