The launch of the annual Diageo Special Releases is one of the big whisky events of the year. Whether you want to buy them or not, the discussion that's generated online and the fight for tickets to tastings featuring the bottles shows that interest is building every year. However, we don't normally learn about them officially until the autumn. That's changed this year: announcing the Diageo Special Releases 2018!

Don't know what the Special Releases are? Learn all about them this handy guide: Diageo Special Releases – what are they?

Years of leaks and, more recently, the labels appearing in the USA's public label registration database have meant that we usually know what the Special Releases are long before the launch. This year, Diageo has taken the initiative and released details of nine of the 10 bottlings today, five months earlier than usual – scroll down if you want to see the line-up.

In a tradition started with last year's Collectivum XVIII – a blended malt featuring whisky from all of Diageo's working distilleries – there is a mysterious 10th bottling which they are still keeping secret. We'll learn more in the autumn...


The range is similar to previous years, but there are a few things that stand out...

Firstly, there's no Port Ellen or Brora. For years it's been speculated that there aren't many casks left from these two distilleries and that they would one day disappear. However, with the announcement that they will both reopen, the stock is instead being kept for future projects involving the revived distilleries. As the press release says:

Port Ellen and Brora are among the rarest Single Malt Whiskies still being released and will continue to be available for purchase as annual bottlings outside of the collection.

Also, the tradition of releasing an old grain whisky continues, with a 48-year-old Carsebridge. An early adopter of continuous stills, one of the first members of the Distillers Company and as a lost distillery – it closed in 1983 – Carsebridge is a perfect candidate for inclusion in the line-up. At 48 years old, it's not the oldest grain released as part of the Special Releases – that honour goes to last year's Port Dundas 52 Year Old – but it's still venerable and hopefully will taste excellent.

And finally,a whisky that many are very keen to try – Caol Ila 35 Year Old. 

Diageo Special Releases 2018

Diageo Special Releases 2018


Carsebridge 48 year old ABV 43.2% Region: Lowlands Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads No. of bottles: 1,000

Caol Ila Unpeated 15 year old ABV 59.1% Region: Islay Cask: Refill & Rejuvenated American Oak Hogsheads and Ex-Bodega European Oak Butts Limited quantities worldwide

Caol Ila 35 year old ABV 58.1% Region: Islay Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads & Refill European Oak Butts No of bottles: 3,276

Inchgower 27 year old ABV 55.3% Region: Speyside Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads No of bottles: 8,544

Lagavulin 12 year old ABV 57.8% Region: Islay Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads Limited quantities available worldwide

Oban 21 year old ABV 57.9% Region: Highlands Cask: Refill European Oak Butts Limited availability worldwide

Pittyvaich 28 year old ABV 52.1% Region: Speyside Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads No of bottles: 4,680

The Singleton of Glen Ord 14 year old ABV 57.6% Region: Highlands Cask: Refill American Oak Hogsheads and Ex-Bodega European Oak butts followed by a unique maturation and marrying process Limited quantities available worldwide

Talisker 8 year old ABV 59.4% Region: Island Cask: First fill Ex-Bourbon American Oak Hogsheads Limited availability worldwide

 I can't promise we'll be tasting any of them at future WACWAC meetings unless we up the contributions but we'll see!