Diageo Reveals the 2022 Special Releases, Dubbed the “Elusive Expressions”

Since 2001, autumn has been a time for the Diageo Special Releases—the annual unveiling of the company’s limited-edition collection of cask strength whiskies showcasing rarity and innovative cask finishes. This year’s edition, which hits the shelves on October 1, is called Elusive Expressions. It offers eight bottles in all, again selected by master blender Craig Wilson. The whiskies include a 26 year old single grain whisky, six single malt whiskies aged up to 16 years old, and a non-age statement Mortlach, the 8th bottling, which will not be available in the U.S.

Diageo is continuing its recent trend of offering far lower aged whiskies from operational distilleries in the Special Releases, concentrating on rare and unique expressions of distillery character. Consequently, prices are lower than ever at $1,210 for the 7-bottle collection. That’s a 65% reduction compared to last year’s 8-bottle set, making the 2022 Special Releases the least expensive since the early years.

Collectors who once snapped up the series’ closed distillery bottlings and ultra-aged expressions again might not feel this year’s release offers the gems of earlier years. Diageo clearly is looking to attract a new audience for the Special Releases, namely drinkers who’ve only recently discovered scotch. There’s a new dedicated digital space to explore, with a QR code linking to animated storytelling of fantastic legends and mythical beasts, vividly illustrated in electrifying neon colors by Ken Taylor and Kevin Tong, all aimed at connecting with millennial and legal drinking age Gen Z audiences delving into the world of fine whisky. The code also reveals the full cocktail recipes for each bottling, such as the Lagavulin 12 year old-based Flame of the Phoenix (Measure 25ml Lagavulin 12 year old and 50ml cold Lapsang Souchong tea into a highball glass, add 100ml ginger ale, top with ice, stir and garnish with pineapple leaf and lime wedge).

Explore the full details below, including the cask types and all the new cocktail suggestions. Look for ratings and tasting notes in our Winter issue Buying Guide.

The 2022 Diageo Special Releases Revealed

Cameronbridge 26 year old
Style: Single grain
Origin: Scotland
ABV: 56.2%
Price: $320
Cask type: Refill American oak
Cocktail: Golden Triumph

Cardhu 16 year old
Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
ABV: 58%
Price: $180
Cask type: Refill and re-charred American Oak and Jamaican pot still rum seasoned
Cocktail: Black Rock Paradise

Clynelish 12 year old
Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highland)
ABV: 58.5%
Price: $200
Cask type: Refill American oak and Pedro Ximénez and oloroso seasoned
Cocktail: The Golden Eyed Guardian

Lagavulin 12 year old
Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
ABV: 57.3%
Price: $150
Cask type: Refilled heavily peated American oak and virgin oak
Cocktail: Flame of the Phoenix

Oban 10 year old
Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highland)
ABV: 57.1%
Price: $110
Cask type: Refill and new American oak and amontillado seasoned
Cocktail: Celestial Blaze

The Singleton of Glen Ord 15 year old
Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
ABV: 54.2%
Price: $130
Cask type: Refill American and European oak and wine seasoned
Cocktail: The Enchantress

Talisker 11 year old
Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islands)
ABV: 55.1%
Price: $120
Cask type: First-fill and refill bourbon and wine seasoned
Cocktail: Creature of the Depths

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
ABV: 57.8%
Price: £250 (Not available in the U.S.)
Cask type: Refill American oak, virgin tawny port, and red muscat seasoned
Cocktail: Lure of the Blood Red Moon

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