Diageo's 'Special Release' lineup revealed

William M. Dowd photo illustration

This is one in an occasional series of postings pointing out unusual spirits or collections.

Only 59 shopping days until Christmas. Don't wait, however, if one of the limited-edition annual single malt whisky releases from Diageo is on your list.

The eighth annual list of rare single malts from the spirits giant was released today. If past performance is any indicator, despite the current shaky worldwide economy the whiskies will sell out quickly.

This year's 10 "Special Releases" include a very wide range of super-premium whiskies selected by Diageo's experts.

• Linkwood: Three different expressions of the 26-year-old were aged identically for their first dozen years, then finished in different woods for 14 more years -- previously filled port, rum and sweet red wine casks, then bottled at natural strength in small 50cl bottles created for this release. Only 1,260 individually numbered bottles will be available.

• Brora: A rare 25-year-old Coastal Highland single malt from a now-closed distillery, available in 3,000 numbered bottles.

• Port Ellen: A 29-year-old from an Islay distillery that has been closed since 19833.

• Talisker: Two Isle of Skye single malts, in 25- and 30-year-old bottlings.

• Caol Ila: Two expressions from here. One is an 8-year-old distilled in the "Highland style" in a batch made once a year from unpeated malt. The other is a 12-year-old Lagavulin vatted from refill American white oak casks.

• Glen Elgin: A 16-year-old from this Speyside distillery was aged in formerly filled European oak casks, in an edition of not quite 10,000 individually numbered bottles.

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