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Drum roll please... Welcome Special Releases 2016

If you love whisky you’ll know that Special Releases are the most exciting times in the single malts calendar. A Special Release is a series of small annual releases of limited edition single malts. But what makes a special release so special?

1. Natural cask strength, representing some of the most magnificent whiskies to savour and enjoy.

2. Sourced from a selection of famous and closed distilleries.

3. Small bottling and many individually numbered.

And, because these extra special bottlings are highly sought after, care is taken down to the final detail. The packaging is artfully devised by leading designers to give Special Releases the respect they deserves.

This Autumn ten Scotch whiskies are being released, in strictly limited quantities, as part of Diageo’s on going Special Releases programme. Individually numbered, Special Releases represent the true beauty and quality of whisky that Scotland has to offer, and due to their scarcity they’re only available for purchase from hand selected specialist retailers.


“As a blender I am always aware that I am working with other people’s hard work. The carefully produced new make spirit from the distillery transformed over time by casks made by the hard graft* of the cooper. I hope that every blend I do is a testament to their craft...”

Keith Law, Master Blender

The attraction of

25 years old

51.2%. Speyside. 3,954 individually numbered bottles worldwide.

Auchroisk is an active distillery on Speyside and has created a limited edition, natural cask strength single malt from a mix of refill American Oak hogsheads & refill European Oak butts filled in 1990. There are only 3,954 individually numbered bottles worldwide.

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Say hello to one of Scotland’s newest distilleries, established in 1974 at Mulben, in Banffshire. The distillery is the most northerly distillery on Speyside, situated in a wooded rural district between Keith and Rothes; it’s only a mile from the River Spey.

The name means, “Ford of the Red Stream” in Gaelic.

The distillery is rarely available as a single malt, making this release extra special.

Be smoothly seduced by

38 years old

48.6%. Coastal Highland. 2984 individually numbered bottles worldwide.

A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt from a closed distillery at Brora on the Sutherland coast. Bottled from refill American Oak hogsheads and refill European Oak butts filled in 1977.

This is the oldest Brora we have bottled in this series and the fifteenth of a limited series of annual releases. 

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“an amazing whisky to work with. A renowned depth of flavour and heritage”

Keith Law, Master Blender



Founded in 1819 as Clynelish by the Marquess of Stafford this was one of Scotland's earliest purpose-built malt whisky distilleries, costing only £750 to build.

This distillery has had a colourful history. It was leased to local men James Harper, then Andrew Ross and George Lawson and sold in 1896 to Leith blenders, Ainslie & Co. In 1896 Harper’s Weekly said of the distillery, "A singularly valuable property, as the make has always obtained the highest price of any single Scotch whisky"

Life begins at 40

40 Years Old

52.7%. Central Lowland. 1812 individually numbered bottles available worldwide.

A limited edition, natural cask strength single grain whisky from Cambus, a closed distillery near Alloa. This is very rare limited release of very old Cambus, in fact it’s the oldest ever released by the original distillers and the third single grain whisky to be bottled as a Special Release. 

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“as a person whose working career started in Grain Distilling 37 years ago,  being asked to create a Cambus 40yo blend, following on from last year’s Caledonian 40yo single grain brought back many  treasured memories of my time in Grain Distilling. This beautifully sweet and complex Cambus 40yo is part of a fitting legacy to this now sadly closed distillery”

Keith Law, Master Blender



Originally founded in 1806 by James Moubray, it’s one of the six Lowland grain distilleries that combined to form the Distillers Company in 1877.

On the night of 23rd September 1914, there was a great fire that destroyed much of the distillery. Completely rebuilt, Cambus reopened twenty-four years and £275,000 later, in 1938. It was closed twenty-three years ago, in 1993. Now vanishingly rare as a single grain.

The sound of islay
Caol Ila

15 Years Old Unpeated

61.5%. Isle of Islay. Limited availability worldwide.

A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt from Caol Ila, an active Isle of Islay distillery. This is an eleventh limited release of unpeated CAOL ILA from a batch made once a year, from unpeated malt.

Distilled in 2000: the first of this series to come from the new millennium from refill American Oak hogsheads and refill European Oak butts.

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Established in 1846 near Port Askaig, by Hector Henderson, Caol Ila means “Sound of Islay” in Gaelic.

A waterfall used to supply power for the barley hoists and pressure for the fire hydrants. However today, a novel heat exchanger uses the sea to cool hot process water before returning it to the condensers.

This is a highly celebrated and awarded distillery. 

Fall for the charm of

Flavour Led

55.7%. Speyside. 4,932 individually numbered bottles worldwide.

A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt, distilled at the Classic Malts Speyside distillery, Cragganmore.

A sixth distillery release of Cragganmore in this series made from three cask types chosen for flavour alone: both refill & rejuvenated American Oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European Oak butts.

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Founded 1869 by John Smith, formerly commissioning manager at Glenlivet, this was the first Speyside distillery built to take advantage of railway transport.It was designed by the doyen of whisky architects, Charles Doig of Elgin. Control then passing to Gordon Smith in 1893.

The distillery closed between 1931-34, with limited production 1941-46, before being reconstructed in 1948.The distillery has been honoured with many awards for its classic malts.

Glenkinchie got legs

24 Years Old

57.2%. Lowland. 5,928 individually numbered bottles worldwide.

A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt, distilled at the Classic Malts Lowland distillery, Glenkinchie.

The third release of cask strength Glenkinchie available in this series. The oldest cask strength Glenkinchie released to date in this series and the first from European Oak.

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Founded 1837 by farmers, George and John Rate. Interestingly it was rebuilt as a model distillery village in the 1890s and unusually, has worked almost continuously: even, with a brief pause, through two world wars.

The still house rebuilt and converted to steam heating 1981 and it boasts one of the two largest stills in Scotland holding a massive 32,000 litres.

A well awarded distillery and known as “The Edinburgh Malt” as its just fifteen miles from the city.

200 years young

12 year old

200th Anniversary. 57.7%. Isle of Islay

A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt whisky from the essential Islay distillery, Lagavulin, on Islay’s rocky south coast.

This is fourteenth in a series of special 12-year-old releases from the original distiller’s stocks kept in refill American Oak hogsheads, each at least 12 years old.

Lagavulin is celebrating its 200th Anniversary and this bottle is a perfect introduction to the sheer excellence of Special Releases.


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Situated on Lagavulin Bay, overlooked by Dunyvaig Castle, ancient stronghold of Lords of The Isles, this distillery was founded in 1816 by John Johnston.

It has changed hands over the years first being succeeded by Alexander Graham in 1836, followed by Peter Mackie takes over 1890 (Mackie & Co. becomes White Horse Distillers 1924). A second distillery was opened on site in 1908 named the Malt Mill (closing in 1962).

The distillery is renowned for its unusual pear shaped still and it’s built for long, slow maturation reflected in its complex rich and peaty character.

If you never try you'll never know

37 Years Old

50.3%. Speyside. 6114 individually numbered bottles worldwide.

A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt from Linkwood, an active distillery on Speyside. This is rarely available as a single malt from the original distillers and is only the second Special Release bottling and the first for eight years.

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“...amazed by the depth of delicacy and fragrancy of a Linkwood of this age...”

Keith Law, Master Blender



This infamous distillery was established in1825, built and nurtured for seventy years by Peter Brown and his son. This is Speyside’s most romantic distillery, its cooling water drawn from a lake that is home to swans and other wildlife, helping to produce a complex, classic and highly regarded malt-maker’s single malt.

Long time manager Roderick Mackenzie, believed the environment directly affected the whisky, and he even forbade the removal of spider’s webs from the rafters in fear of changing the character. This is a symbol of the high standards they have held themselves too, to this very day.

Mellow, magica,

25 Years Old

Distilled 1990. 53.4%. Speyside. 3954 individually numbered bottles available

A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt from Mannochmore, a relatively young Speyside distillery whose whisky is still rarely seen as a single malt.

The bottling is from a unique mix of first-fill ex-bourbon American Oak barrels, new American Oak barrels and new and ex-bodega European Oak butts.

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The distillery was established in 1971 at Birnie, south of Elgin and named after the Mannoch hill, which supplies the water used in distilling, along the northern slope of which the whole Glenlivet region lies.

The distillery is in the heart of a picturesque district of farmland, criss-crossed by trickling streams. Built as a partner to the Victorian distillery, Glenlossie, with a similarly aromatic house style. It is rarely available as a single malt. Highly unusual as one even today.

Pay a visit to
Port Ellen

37 Years Old

55.2%. Isle of Islay. 2940 individually numbered bottles worldwide.

This very rare and highly sought after release is from Port Ellen, a closed distillery on the Isle of Islay, and is sixteenth of a limited series of annual releases.

This is incredibly special as it is the oldest Port Ellen ever released 

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“I feel honoured to be able to work with a whisky that is revered and loved by whisky people all over the world. Their expectations weigh heavily on the shoulders, but my job is made easier by the quality of the spirit samples in front of me.”

Keith Law, Master Blender



Port Ellen was established as a malt mill on Islay’s famous south coast in 1825 and it developed into a major distillery under John Ramsay from 1833-92.

Trading directly with North America, in 1848 Ramsay secured the right to export whisky in larger casks and to store it in bonded duty free warehouses prior to export.

The warehouses he built also still exist, and are listed buildings today.

In 1967 the distillery was rebuilt, producing through the 1970s and closing in 1983.