10 things you didn’t know about whisky


If there’s a Diageo Special Releases tasting being hosted by the Whisky Exchange in London, then you know that whisky ambassador Colin Dunn from Diageo will be involved.  As well as pouring some fantastic drams, Colin passed on some of his substantial knowledge of the industry, shedding light on the lesser-known distilleries in Diageo’s portfolio and sharing 10 pearls of whisky wisdom:

Colin Dunn


1. ‘Before 1955, there were no American oak barrels in the UK. You could buy Talisker aged in sherry, Cognac, Armagnac or wine casks – but not bourbon'

2. ‘99% of Glen Elgin goes into our White Horse blend. It’s the closest thing we’ve got to a bourbon – and it’s great with pancakes!’

3. ‘I love Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, so I take some Royal Lochnagar, dilute it to about 10-15% ABV and chill it down – it becomes just like Loire Sauvignon Blanc’

4. ‘Diageo is a blending company – it also happens to make single malts

5. ‘Next time you serve oysters, pour a few drops of Caol Ila over them – fantastic’ 

6. ‘Twenty years ago, Caol Ila was hard to find as a single malt, and the only way you could taste Lagavulin was if it was in a blend’

7. ‘Our new whisky, Collectivum, is a blend from all 28 single-malt distilleries we own – you’d never guess that Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Talisker are in there, but they are’

8. ‘Convalmore is one of the original seven distilleries that made up Dufftown. It closed in 1985 and the distillery is now owned by William Grant’

9. ‘In the future, vintages are going to be a huge business in the whisky trade’

10. ‘I feel sorry for the brand ambassadors who only work with one or two products – I have 178 whiskies to play with’

The 2017 Diageo Special Releases are available to buy from our site, and you can also read more about the Special Releases themselves, with in-depth tasting notes.