The Special Releases from Diageo is something to look forward to every year. Last year, this Collectivum XXVIII was the surprise in the line-up in my book. It is a blended malt of all 28 operational distilleries that Diageo owns. Allow me to list them for you: Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Blair Athol, Caol Ila, Cardhu, Clynelish, Cragganmore, Dailuaine, Dalwhinnie, Dufftown, Glendullan, Glen Elgin, Glenkinchie, Glenlossie, Glen Ord, Glen Spey, Inchgower, Knockando, Lagavulin, Linkwood, Mannochmore, Mortlach, Oban, Roseisle, Royal Lochnagar, Strathmill, Talisker and Teaninich. Did you see Roseisle in the list? No releases of this distillery are currently available. Just sayin’.
Lovely aromatic, almost tropical (maybe even Irish) nose on apples, pears, peaches, pineapple and blueberries. Turkish Delight, coffee grounds, leather and old books for depth. A lovely waxiness that implies that quite some Clynelish (or maybe even Brora) went into the mix. Fresh oak – that gives a soft spiciness – precedes some cinnamon and a lot of ginger. Lovely hint of peat and hay. This is complex!
It tickles the tongue without burning, despite the high alcohol percentage. Apples and lemon zest come first, followed closely by loads of ginger and white pepper. Walnuts and cedar wood kick in. Becomes fairly sweet, but thanks to something of a dusty basement that sweetness is under control. Furniture polish, aniseed and quinine. I like it!
The finish is wonderfully long, perfectly bitter and waxy (there is the Clynelish again) and drying. A feisty lemon zest and truckload of liquorice (and a touch of smoke) in the finale.
This is a symphony, created by the instruments known as single malts. I do not know who the conductor (read: master blender) was, but he deserves a medal. Around 150 EUR, but worth it!