A first for the Diageo Special Release series, this is a “master blend” of malts from six coastal distilleries: Caol Ila, Clynelish, Lagavulin, Oban, Inchgower, and Talisker — all but one of which are otherwise represented in this year’s Special Releases as a single malt. A mutt of styles and ages, it includes whisky from all manner of barrels and is bottled with no age statement, the only idea being to focus on what the essence of a “coastal malt” is.
Let’s dig into the final whisky in the series for 2018.
The nose is surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly, depending on your point of view) complex, lightly smoky, but laced with unexpected and unusual notes of sage, beef jerky, seaweed, and candle wax. The palate is a bit racy thanks to the higher abv, showing a significant sherry influence alongside a more maritime character than the nose would indicate. Oily, with a significant saline character evolving as the finish grows, eventually showcasing some notes of roasted nuts, spicy lemongrass, flamed orange, and a lingering peatiness.
More cohesive than you’d think, there’s a little something here for everyone (especially if you like your peat tempered a bit), and it comes at a price that isn’t completely outrageous.
114.2 proof. Available only at thewhiskyexchange.com.