There are few, if any, more prominent names in the drinks world than Diageo. Although the public limited company was only founded twenty-five years ago, in a relatively short space of time, the drinks giant has become the custodian of some of the industry’s greatest names, and some of these features in its spectacular 2022 Elusive Expressions Scotch Whisky collection.
With the festive period almost upon us, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to bring some extra gift inspiration in the form of the Elusive Expressions Special Releases Scotch Whisky Collection, which comprises eight aged and finely finished whisky blends hand-selected by Master Blender Dr Craig Wilson. Each of the selected whiskies was chosen for its rarity and flavour, and the whole collection has been wrapped up in fantasy, making each of the whiskies an ideal Christmas gift.
When it comes to flavour creation and blends, there’s no company better suited to doing this than Diageo. The company can have the advantage of more than 10 million casks in its world-famous portfolio. To put that into context, if the casks were sat side-by-side, they would form a line at least 3,800 miles in length, which would stretch from England to India.
For this Elusive Expressions collection, Dr Craig Wilson has created some exceptional flavours and finishes containing incredible depth and complexity, redefining what cask-strength whiskies can be. Each of the strikingly rare flavours has been brought to life with a new energy.
Elusive Expressions is the latest chapter in Diageo’s Special Releases, which was first brought to life in 2001. Earlier, I mentioned the word fantasy, and this is because the 2022 collection contains striking fantasy artwork and stories by the illustrator Ken Taylor.
For this collection, Ken was joined by Kevin Tong, a fellow illustrator, and the two have combined their skills to create graphic designs that bring art, whisky and fantasy together.
Each of the blends is described in the Elusive Expressions Cocktails and Serves book. The book uses a graphic-novel style, and each recipe is represented by journeys and characters who bring their stories to life in an innovative way. Some examples of the recipe themes include capturing the Blood Red Moon and the mystery of Solstice.
In keeping with modern world trends, it’s not only on paper that one can experience the artwork. Diageo has also created a digital experience, which can be accessed by scanning a QR code (above).
It is a digital doorway that takes visitors into an alternative universe where they can interact with the collection and experience the brand’s stories in a unique way.
The whiskies in the 2022 Elusive Expressions Collection
The 2022 collection contains some of Scotland’s oldest whisky names and uses rare finds to push the flavour boundaries in limited quantities. The cask-strength collection involves experimentation with extended secondary maturation techniques and new cask finishes.
It is a collection of contrasts born from various casks, including Red Muscato and Tawny Port, which impart exciting new flavours which are bound to please all whisky fans.
The eight whiskies in the collection comprise the following:
- The Mortlach is a dark, rich and sweet blend with a gingery depth, which is unique to the Speyside Dufftown distillery.
- The Singleton of Glen Ord is a lively sweet expression, aged in refill European and American oak and double matured in wine-seasoned casks.
- A true expression of Lagavulin, which was matured in a combination of virgin oak casks and Diageo’s smokiest reserves
- The Talisker 11-Year-Old is a classic and elemental whisky with notes of maritime malty smokiness.
- The Oban 10-Year-Old is creamy and smooth and boasts sweet fruitiness, light smoke and salt notes.
- The Clynelish boats a slight waxiness, added sweetness and spiciness thanks to a maturation process in refill American Oak, followed by finishing in PX/Oloroso seasoned casks.
- A rare expression of Cardhu finished in Jamaican Rum casks for a vibrant tropical sweetness.
- And finally, and what is a first, a rich and exquisite Cameronbridge 26-Year-Old.
With Christmas almost with us, I’m confident any of the whiskies in the Elusive Expressions collection will thrill every type of whisky fan. The 2022 Special Releases collection is available now via specialist Scotch whisky retailers and malts.com. For more information on Diageo, visit www.diageo.com.
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