Diageo has unveiled “Legends Untold,” the 2021 version of its annual Special Releases Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection.
The annual series includes bottles from an array of distilleries across the regions.
This year’s releases also feature augmented reality, centered around the mythical creatures of Scotland.
Illustrations on these bottles feature design work by digital illustrator Ken Taylor. He is known his a portfolio of pop culture artwork and posters.
Activated by a QR code on the packaging, these augmented-reality labels guide consumers through a “mixed reality tasting experience.”
Master Blender Dr. Craig Wilson selected each of the whiskies in the Legends Untold collection.
“We have delved into the core characteristics of several classic distilleries, exploring the elements and reimagining the liquids for the Legends Untold collection,” he says. “The mythical creatures of this year’s collection represent the true expressions of the distilleries. Taking inspiration from them, we have revealed new depths of flavor and embraced the essence of each of the whisky’s unique flavor profiles revealing the legend it brings to life. This year’s collection is just the very beginning of the story.”
The 2021 Special Releases collection will be available in limited quantities from retailers and malts.com this Autumn.
The 2021 collection includes (with Diageo-provided tasting notes):
Mortlach 13 Year Old
Cask: Virgin and refill American oak casks
“A mellow and rounded nose, with note of freshly oiled wood. Next, rising through this, savory and meaty notes suggest the beast within yet also carry a sweet tartness, suggesting roast pheasant with redcurrant jelly. The senses are heightened as these pitch perfect aromas in turn reveal a deeper moorland base-note, rich in heather pollen and freshly crushed herbs. A drop of water completes the anticipation, bringing out a sweet, fruity hint of lime.”
Singleton of Glendullan 19 Year Old
Cask: Refill American oak casks, finished in cognac casks
“Mild in feel, the nose shines with top notes of dried fruits suggesting dried figs and apricots or crystalized angelica and orange peel, while beneath this there is the dry scent of a light fruitcake, iced with spirited notes of vanilla scented marzipan. More buttery notes emerge with a drop of water, which also brings up the spiciness.”
Talisker 8 Year Old
Region: Island/Isle of Skye
Cask: Heavily peated refill casks
“The mild nose-feel gives little hint of the furious spirit soon to emerge. The top notes are sweet and maritime, an early cereal hint of porridge oats rapidly giving way to more cleansing and maritime aromas that suggest briny seaweed, crystal salt and iodine, on a base of mountain smoke. A drop of water softens things, increasing the maritime character.”
Lagavulin 26 Year Old
Cask: PX/Oloroso seasoned first fill casks
“On the mellow nose a finely woven wine-woody aroma of great complexity takes time to yield its individual secrets. Light, fresh and vinous top notes mingle with the linseed oil of an artist’s studio then fade into a warm suggestion of sun-bleached polished mahogany, backed by dry edible seaweed, with sweeter hints of baked fig and butterscotch. Further in, the aromas grow more pungent, oily and fragrantly smoky; like going fishing, with background aromas of tarry rope and boat engine. If a little water is added, their intensity is reduced, while a note of clean linen survives best.”
Lagavulin 12 Year Old
Cask: Refill American Oak casks
“Mild, drying and soon, wonderfully aromatic; clean, fresh and maritime, with top notes of sea air and Himalayan salt, supported by fragrant smoke-dried Lapsang Souchong tea, mineral salts and light cleansing salve. Beneath these lie drier notes of cocoa powder and dried seaweed, with a squeeze of lemon zest, this salty sweetness imbued with wood-smoke from a distant bonfire on the shore.”
Cardhu 14 Year Old
Casks: Refill American oak casks, finished in red wine casks
“The mild nose is fresh and lightly fruity, as gentle aromas of white grape and lychee frolic with sharper hints of green apple, pear and a trace of orange zest, all enrobed by a hint of buttery pastry. Rising above these, a light spicy note reveals more of the wine-seasoned wood. A drop of water introduces a light note of meadow flowers, which become distinctly honeyed with time.”
Oban 12 Year Old
Region: Coastal Highland
Cask: Freshly charred American Oak casks
“Mellow, with elusive yet unmistakeably maritime top notes of crispy edible seaweed, crystal salt and coarse black pepper on a wooden trencher, perhaps accompanied by very lightly smoked fillets of white fish. After a while a spoonful of sweet chilli sauce is added to the platter while with a drop of water, light olive oil becomes the top note.”
Royal Lochnagar 16 Year Old
Cask: American Oak and European Oak refill casks
“The very mellow and rounded nose swirls with subtle aromas. The top notes are lightly fruity, suggesting orange zest and green apple. They are encased after a while, in a hint of puff-pastry, all resting on a mossy and lightly woody base. Adding a splash of water adds to the fruit, now firm white grapes, and brings up the spiciness.”