The Diageo Special Releases 2021 ‘Legends Untold’ collection is a set of eight limited-edition, cask-strength whiskies from its prodigious stable of distilleries.
One of the most highly anticipated moments on a whisky collector’s calendar every year is Diageo’s annual Special Releases, when it unveils its carefully curated collection of what Diageo’s master blender Dr. Craig Wilson are the most exceptional single malt whiskies from its vast stable of lauded distilleries. Like previous editions, the Diageo Special Releases 2021 collection highlights the diversity of its vast whisky reserves, shining the spotlight on its iconic distilleries but also some of its lesser-known workhorses.
Diageo’s annual Special Releases is also thematic – last year’s collection was ‘Rare by Nature’, for example. This year the theme is ‘Legends Untold’. While the packaging each bottle in ‘Rare by Nature’ represented a real animal that can be found in Scotland, those in the 2021 collection takes on a mythical creature from Scottish legends that are said to have protected its remote expanse.
The Diageo Special Releases 2021 “Legends Untold” Collection consists of:
- Cardhu 14 Year Old
- Lagavulin 12 Year Old
- Lagavulin 26 Year Old
- Mortlach 13 Year Old
- Oban 12 Year Old
- Royal Lochnagar 16 Year Old
- Talisker 8 Year Old
- The Singleton Glendullan 19 Year Old
‘Legends Untold’ will, in a departure from previous collections, feature heavily detailed illustrations and design work from renowned digital illustrator Ken Taylor. Taylor applies his signature pop culture style to interpret those mythical creatures and puts them on both bottle label and tube.
For the whiskies, each of them have been personally curated by Diageo’s Master Blender Dr Craig Wilson. As far as possible, each mythical creature depicted is a subtle hint as to the liquid inside.
“We have delved into the core characteristics of several classic distilleries, for the ‘Legends Untold’ collection. Taking inspiration from the mythical creatures of this year’s collection, we have revealed new depths of flavour and embraced the essence of each whisky’s unique profile revealing the legend it brings to life. This year’s collection is just the very beginning of the story,” Dr Wilson shares.
It’s not expressly revealed what the mythical creatures are until you unlock them via an on-pack QR code, so we can only make a guess. The image of the fire-breathing sea monster representing the Talisker 8 Year Old? That could be a Cirein-cròin, fully evocative of bold smoke and sea wash off the Isle of Skye. That wolf-like creature on the Mortlach 13 Year Old? Maybe the fabled Wullver, certainly a reflection of the Beast of Dufftown, the nickname for the Speyside distillery.
In that sense, design-wise (and price-wise) this year’s Diageo Special Releases 2021 “Legends Untold” Collection is more akin to its limited-edition Game of Thrones set than, say, the ultra-premium Prima & Ultima collection.
Surprising this year’s Special Releases offers up two Lagavulins – a boon for fans of the peat bombs from the Islay distillery – while hardcore Clynelish fans (of which we are one) will be disappointed there isn’t one from their favourite.
But that’s the nature of the beast.
The Diageo 2021 Special Releases collection will be available in limited quantities from cellarbration.com.sg and ishopchangi.com at S$3,888 for the full set of eight bottles. Bottles are also sold separately, while stocks last.
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