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Whisky Advocate: Diageo Reveals 2022 Special Releases, The “Elusive Expressions”

October 4, 2022

Since 2001, autumn has been a time for the Diageo Special Releases—the annual unveiling of the company’s limited-edition collection of cask strength whiskies showcasing rarity and innovative cask finishes. This year’s edition, which hit shelves on October 1, is called Elusive Expressions. It offers eight bottles in all, again selected by master blender Craig Wilson. The whiskies include a 26 year old single grain whisky, six single malt whiskies aged up to 16 years old, and a non-age statement Mortlach, the 8th bottling, which will not be available in the U.S.

Diageo is continuing its recent trend of offering far lower-aged whiskies from operational distilleries in the Special Releases, concentrating on rare and unique expressions of distillery character. Consequently, prices are lower than ever at $1,210 for the 7-bottle collection. That’s a 65% reduction compared to last year’s 8-bottle set, making the 2022 Special Releases the least expensive since the early years.

Collectors who once snapped up the series’ closed distillery bottlings and ultra-aged expressions again might not feel this year’s release offers the gems of earlier years. Diageo clearly is looking to attract a new audience for the Special Releases, namely drinkers who’ve only recently discovered Scotch.

There’s a new dedicated digital space to explore, with a QR code linking to animated storytelling of fantastic legends and mythical beasts, vividly illustrated in electrifying neon colors by Ken Taylor and Kevin Tong, all aimed at connecting with millennial and legal drinking age Gen Z audiences delving into the world of fine whisky. The code also reveals the full cocktail recipes for each bottling, such as the Lagavulin 12 year old-based Flame of the Phoenix, which pairs the malt with Lapsang Souchong tea and ginger ale. Whisky Advocate has the full story.—Jonny McCormick

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