I just received the most incredible box to unbox the best sampling of Single Malt Scotch Whisky’s ever! Thank you to Daigeo for this amazing selection of the 2022 Special Releases by The Singleton, Cardhu, Oban, Lagavulin, Talker, Clynelish, and Cameron Bridge. 

The box arrived in the shape of an octagon, where when you opened it, it unboxed into a beautiful flower like shape with the labels on each panel (see IG reel for unboxing). Inside was a great tasting glass, as well as samples of each brand. Every layer of this box was so much fun to look at, read about, and take apart. Each of these re-defines flavor and showcases what Cask Strength whisky’s can be while also being limited “elusive expressions”. Master Blender Dr. Craig Wilson uncovers these bold spirits and brings their stories to light in this unique and expressive collection of our beloved Scottish distilleries!

I had to dive in and taste them, but needed some cigars too. I started off with the Talisker 11 and the Oban 10 to try first since I was the most familiar with those brands. I have been drinking Oban and Talisker for years now and really enjoy them with cigars. The Talisker 11 is made near the sea and has created its own maritime uniqueness since 1830. They have this sweetness and salinity at the same time, its truly captivating. The “smoke and sea” in this Talisker is ideal for sipping, and is layered with complexity due to its location as well as its aging in ex-bourbon casks before being in wine seasoned casks. Oban is one of the smallest distilleries and oldest in Scotland dating back to 1794. This iconic distilleries 10 year old is alluring having undergone double maturation in ex-sherry amontillado casks which brings a mild nuttiness combined with salty sea spray from the air. Hints of spice keep this whisky layered and complex with aromas of plum and smoke. On the palate it’s so smooth and refined; it’s absolutely delicious!

The Lagavulin 12 is based off the legend when flames consumed Islay and through the ashes a Phoenix arose and lifted the power of the stills of Lagavulin making it powerful and spicer! This distillery is well respected and well-known for over 200 years in Islay. It’s known for its powerful and intense scotch whisky’s that are steeped in history and this 12 year is an expression from virgin oak, smokey reserves, and peaty casks. It has depth and sweetness with some citrus and salt in the back of the palate. It’s dry and complex with the smoke flavors intensifying in the finish.

The Clynelish 12 is a distillery thats more remote than most, located in the woods of the Highlands where you can find the Scottish wildcat, a creature that in the legends saved some barrels from being frozen during a blizzard! The Clynelish 12 is smooth and spicy with aromas of fruit and herbs and oak. This whisky sees a second maturation in PX/Oloroso Casks which adds a wine smoothness only sherry casks can deliver. As a certified sherry specialist, I can absolutely say I love when whisky is matured in sherry casks!

After I dove into The Singleton 15 Glen Ord lies deeply in the history and magic of the only remaining single malt distillery in the Black Isle. They have mastered the art of slow crafting letting each state from malt to maturation take its time and work its “magic”. As legend has it, an Enchantress once lived deep within the Emerald Isle caverns, where she would turn water into red wine, that would flow through The Singleton’s water source, adding in deep layers of complexity and spell-binding characteristics to the whisky’s. This whisky goes through eight years of maturation in wine casks and you’ll find notes of red wine, oak, and spice in this 15 year. It’s a silky single malt thats effortlessly captivating!

The Cardhu 16 single malt has grown in popularity over time, and their legend says that due to an ancient black rock beneath the surface of the distillery, a huge crack brought in a tropical warmth enveloping the distillery with a rare exotic quality that closed at midnight, and only one whiskey distilled that day remained to tell the tale! Now the windy heather hills where the Cardhu distillery sits has welcomed guests for centuries where you can taste the crisp, sweeter whisky’s from the Scottish orchards. This 16 year is finished in Jamaican rum casks which gives it tropical sensations, smooth texture, and exotic hints on the palate. It’s a bold whisky with a “taste of paradise”.

Last of the lineup, but certainly not the least is the Cameron Bridge 26 aka The Knight’s Golden Triumph! The legend is based on a knight who forged a crown from a battle that lasted 26 years, who plunged through the River Ore where he carried his flag high into the rivers flow, where it transformed into sweet silky gold. They rose with their quality driven whisky’s in 1824 and have built a legacy of regal, velvety, and refined single grain scotch whisky’s. The 26 is known for its golden hues and smoothness in the glass followed by spice and toffee notes and intense finish. It’s abundant in flavor and richness and is simply an icon!

Thank you to Diageo for this incredible box of Elusive Expressions and the best 2022 Special Releases! If you’re seeking the perfect gift to give the scotch whisky lover in your life, one of these or multiple are it. I know I now need more of these in my collection after this amazing tasting, and can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love. Please pair responsibly!