Diageo unveils 2020 special releases - what's in the 'rare by nature' selection

The 2020 Diageo special releases have been announced, and will be available soon.

Published 1st Sep 2020
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Diageo has unveiled the 2020 special releases Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection, inspired by the theme, ‘Rare by Nature’.

Curated by master blender, Dr. Craig Wilson, this exclusive selection is comprised of eight cask strength single malt Scotch whiskies, drawn from some of Scotland’s most interesting distilleries.

The anticipated annual collection once again explores unusual age points, experimental maturation techniques and the first-ever release finished in pot-still Caribbean rum casks.

The theme highlights the nature that surrounds each distillery, with each whisky visually brought to life through intricate illustrations that decorate the bottles.

Dr. Craig Wilson, Diageo master blender, says: “I’ve created this year’s Special Releases Collection, from some of my favourite distilleries across Scotland, with whisky enthusiasts in mind.

"For those who enjoy spicy flavours, my recommendation would be to try our Cardhu, and for those who favour rich, intense and smooth flavours my choice would be Mortlach 21 year old.

"If you are curious about discovering something very rare, the Pittyvaich - the single ghost distillery in our Special Releases Collection this year is an unforgettable dram.”

The line-up highlights the diversity of Diageo’s most treasured reserves maturing in Scotland.

With expressions from the renowned to lesser-known locales, the release of the collection marks a highlight of the whisky lover and spirit-enthusiast’s calendar.

The collection includes: Pittyvaich, from the Speyside ghost distillery, finished in first fill ex-bourbon casks, a rare Highland expression of Dalwhinnie matured in refill hogshead casks filled in 1989, the best of Isle of Skye, Talisker, finished in pot-still Caribbean rum casks, and the stalwart Lagavulin, a perfect expression of this Islay distillery’s character.

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The 2020 special releases collection will be available in limited quantities from specialist whisky retailers and malts.com this autumn.

The collection

Cardhu 11-Year-Old
ABV: 56.0%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From refill, new, and ex-bourbon American oak
Limited quantities worldwide
RRSP £85

Cragganmore 20-Year-Old
ABV: 55.8%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From refill casks and new fresh-charred casks.
Limited quantities worldwide
RRSP £130

Dalwhinnie 30-Year-Old
ABV: 51.9%
Region:  Highland
Cask: From refill hogsheads
No. bottles available: 6,978
RRSP £550

Lagavulin 12-Year-Old
ABV: 56.4%
Region: Islay
Cask: From refill American oak casks
Limited quantities worldwide
RRSP £125

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Mortlach 21-Year-Old
ABV: 56.9%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From Pedro Ximenez & Oloroso Sherry seasoned casks
No. bottles available: 7,692
RRSP £575

Pittyvaich 30-Year-Old
ABV: 50.8%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From first fill ex-bourbon casks
No. bottles available: 7,056
RRSP £400

Talisker 8-Year-Old
ABV: 57.9%
Region: Isle of Skye
Cask: From pot-still Caribbean rum casks.
Limited quantities worldwide
RRSP £90

The Singleton of Dufftown 17-Year-Old
ABV: 55.1%
Region: Highland
Cask: Matured only in refill American oak hogsheads.
Limited quantities worldwide
RRSP £110

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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