Tasting through Diageo’s Spirited Xchange single malt collection

March 19, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Diageo’s annual Special Release single malt collection incites palpable excitement among whisky enthusiasts worldwide who eagerly await the opportunity to trial unique expressions of Scotland’s most prestigious whiskies bottled at cask strength. 

The 2023 collection was unveiled to Australia this month and follows the theme of “Spirited Xchange.” As the name suggests, Diageo has sought to highlight the unparalleled diversity and regionality that its network of world-class distilleries permits, showcased through distinctive cask profiles composed by some of Scotch’s most respected master distillers and blenders.  

Drinks Trade staff recently had the opportunity to trial the eight releases, which together truly take the drinker on a true taste journey across the globe. 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old

Leading the line-up is the Lagavulin 12 Year Old finished in aged Tequila casks. Expect layers of peat smoke and maritime brine integrated with the vegetative agave expression, leading into a palate of juicy plums, notes of dark chocolate, dried fruits, and subtle spices.  The lingering, smoky finish leaves a lasting impression backed up by the bottling at 56.4% abv. Truly a whisky that imparts a sophistication that far surpasses its 12 year age statement. 

RRP $220

Talisker Non Age Declared

A sublime single malt from the rugged shores of Skye, expect this non-age declared whisky to reflect the signature maritime character of Talisker, with bracing sea spray, peppery warmth, and a hint of bonfire smoke on the nose embraces a palate of ripe orchard fruits, caramelized nuts, and sea salt. Bottled at 59.7% abv, this whisky has a robust nature complemented by finishing in a combination of ruby, white and tawny port casks.

RRP $170

Singleton of Glen Ord 14 Year Old

For those seeking a refined and approachable dram, the Singleton of Glen Ord 14 Year Old manages to suit those looking for a refined and approachable dram even at its natural cask strength of 55% abv. Floral notes, sweet vanilla, and a hint of honeyed oak on the nose are supported by a palate of ripe orchard fruits, creamy toffee, and gentle spices, culminating in a smooth, lingering finish. Its aura of elegance and sophistication is truly encapsulated by the French oak casks used. 

RRP $170

Glenkinchie 27 Year Old

The oldest whisky in the Spirited Xchange collection comes from Glenkinchie.  In fact, this is the oldest ever Glenkinchie bottling direct from the distillery to date. At 58.3% this lowland single malt stands bold and confident. Orchard fruits are complemented by almond, vanilla and fresh cut grass. The flagship Glenkinchie style is evident in this offering, presenting through an opulent mouthfeel that starts slightly sweet before developing into a vibrant oaky spiciness with a dry finish.

RRP $599

Clynelish 10 Year Old

By exclusively using first fill bourbon American oak casks, Clynelish has crafted a Scotch laden with thick honeyed flavours, rich caramel, and vanilla spice. An undertone of maritime minerality brininess and ripe fruit also comes through, supported by its 57.5% bottling.  Expect a complex fusion of sweet and savoury notes and a rich powerful finish. 

RRP $240

Oban 11 Year Old

Putting a Caribbean twist on traditional Highland, this unique and playful whisky is a fusion of sweetness and spiciness. Expect rich layers of vanilla, toffee and butterscotch to be underpinned by flavours imparted by the rum cask finish, with a final abv of 58%.

RRP $199

Roseisle 12 Year Old

Heralding from the heart of Scotland, this whisky manages to be balanced and refined whilst still displaying a powerful palate of orchard fruits, sweet vanilla, and gentle spice. White chocolate lies below a layer of ripe fruit and creamy mouthfeel. The Roseisle 12 Year Old is the unsung hero of the Special Releases that seems to develop further with each and every sip. Bottled at 56.5%

RRP $170

Mortlach Non Age Declared

Finished in a combination of Japanese whisky and Pinot Noir casks, the Mortlach Natural Cask Strength is the final whisky in the Spirited Xchange 2023 collection. Deep gold in appearance, expect a fruity nose of ripe melon and pear supported by a hint of almonds. A full-bodied and rich mouthfeel is supported by its 58% abv, underlying a harmony of fruity sweetness and savoury elements. A complex and powerful whisky.

RRP $399

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