Recently released in Singapore, the Diageo 2022 Special Release Collection ‘Elusive Expressions’ are a set of whiskies inspired by fantasy.
Remember ‘Legends Untold’, the limited-edition annual special release whisky collection Diageo dropped in 2021? That was a set of eight cask-strength single malt whiskies, each of which was inspired by mythical creatures from Scottish legends. Well, its most recent release falls along the same vein. Named ‘Elusive Expressions’, the new Diageo 2022 Special Release Collection is also a set of eight whiskies but this time explores the rare whiskies of its distilleries in the realm of epic fantasy.
Dungeons & Dragons-style.
The art alone on each whisky livery is awe-inspiring. Drawn by illustrators Ken Taylor and Kevin Tong, the immersive artwork is vivid, colourful and yet, foreboding, evoking – for those of us who may remember – images that emblazoned the Dragonlance Chronicles series of fantasy books, for example. The two talent artists created designs for each of the eight expression, bringing to live each whisky through fantasy art.
The Diageo 2022 Special Release “Elusive Expressions” Collection consists of:
- Lagavulin 12 Years Old “The Flames of the Phoenix”, S$240 (700ml)
A true expression of Lagavulin, matured in a combination of heavily peated American oak refilled and virgin oak casks. 57.3% ABV.
- Talisker 11 Years Old “The Lustrous Creature of the Depths”, S$200 (700ml)
Elemental yet also classic in character with maritime malty smokiness notes, matured in American oak ex-bourbon first fill, refill and wine-seasoned casks. 55.1% ABV.
- Clynelish 12 Years Old “The Golden Eyed Guardian”, S$310 (700ml)
An unusual Clynelish with just a slight trace of waxiness and added sweetness and spiciness from a maturation in refill American oak, then finished in PX/Oloroso seasoned casks. 58.5% ABV.
- Mortlach NAS “The Lure of the Blood Moon”, S$435 (700ml)
The dark, sweet, and rich Mortlach, with gingery depth, unique to the Speyside Dufftown distillery. Matured in refill American oak, virgin tawny port, and red muscat-seasoned casks. 57.8% ABV.
- The Singleton of Glen Ord 15 Years Old “The Enchantress of the Ruby Solstice”,S$215 (700ml)
A lively sweet expression of The Singleton of Glen Ord, aged in refill American and European oak, then double matured in wine-seasoned casks. 54.2% ABV.
- Cardhu 16 Years Old “The Hidden Paradise of Black Rock”, S$285 (700ml)
A rare expression of Cardhu, finished in refill and re-charred American oak, Jamaican pot still rum-seasoned casks for a vibrant tropical sweetness. 58% ABV.
- Oban 10 Years Old “The Celestial Blaze”, S$190 (700ml)
The creamy smooth Oban 10 Year Old with richly sweet fruitiness, light smoke and salt notes that comes from being aged in refill and new American oak and Amontillado-seasoned casks. 57.1% ABV.
- Cameron Bridge 26 Years Old “The Knight’s Golden Triumph”, S$475 (700ml)
A rich and exquisite single grain Cameron Bridge 26 Year Old, aged in refill American oak casks. 56.2% ABV.
Even the names of each whisky sound like they are titles of books from fantasy series.
But what the liquid within?
As you can probably guess, each name is a subtle hint to the whisky and the distillery that produced it. For example, “The Golden Eyed Guardian” is a reference to a mysterious feline creature that protected Clynelish casks during an epic blizzard with its warming hypnotic golden eyes. Then there’s a blazing regal Phoenix that was supposed to have fallen from the sky, its wings of fire setting Islay ablaze but also helping to power the stills of Lagavulin.
Yes, the stories are wondrous and incredible. We don’t have to believe them, of course, but they do add flavour and nuance when you’re tasting the whiskies.
Each of the whiskies are remarkable in their own right. They explore behind each distillery’s signature style, bringing to the table an expression that you won’t find in their core ranges. The Talisker 11 Years Old, for example, draws on some of the Isle of Skye’s smokiest reserves, while the Cardhu explores a different facet of the distillery with a whisky that’s been finished in Jamaican rum casks for a vibrant tropical sweetness. Or the Cameron Bridge, a rare aged single grain whisky release.
“Elusive Expressions is a boundary-pushing collection that truly redefines what cask-strength whiskies can be. This collection features some of our oldest whisky dynasties in Scotland, embracing the wide range of flavour contrasts. From abundantly rich to strikingly rare flavours, each whisky is vividly brought to life with new energy, creating an unexpectedly elusive whisky experience,” shares Diageo’s master blender, Dr. Craig Wilson.
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