Alas, all good things must come to an end, and for this final look at the 10th whisky in the 2017 Diageo Special Releases we come to a true oddity. For the first time ever, Diageo has made a master blend of all 28 single malt distilleries that it owns (hence the XXVIII). I’d list them here, but you can Google the full list as easily as I can. The resulting spirit (formally a NAS release) is a blend of refill American oak hogsheads, refill European oak butts, ex-bodega European oak butts, and first fill bourbon casks.
In a nutshell: This is an infinity bottle done by professionals.
One catch: It’s not available in the United States. Here’s a writeup anyway for our international (and mor industrious) readers.
Considering this whisky is sourced from nearly every producing region of Scotland, I expected a spirit writ broadly, with minimal finesse and a somewhat muddy character. That’s not the case here: Collectivum is complex, and its disparate elements manage to come together surprisingly nicely.
Speyside runs the show here. On the nose, it’s malty, sharp with alcohol and moderately heavy sherry notes, and an ample, earthy character that offers notes of tobacco, mushroom, and forest floor. The palate is hot at full strength. Water helps temper the beast and brings out plenty of character. It starts with that classic, golden honeyed Speyside character, heathery florals, and a squeeze of lemon. As it evolves in the glass, peaty smoke is present but elusive, dialed well into the background, allowing notes of coconut, fig jam, and dried flowers to evolve. The finish is a bit off, sharp and somewhat vegetal, which is a minor letdown in what is otherwise a fun and engaging little whisky.
Should you find yourself in Europe and faced with the prospect of a purchase, I’d nab one.