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Friday, 4 September 2009

Choice FM

Ok, here's a little scoop for you....some of you will have already heard about Diageo's plans to release a Manager's Choice single cask bottling from each of their operational distilleries (except for Roseisle, which is obviously not ready yet). We, like many of you received an excitable email recently about the release and immediately our appetites were whetted.

Here are the details of the first batch of distilleries, unveiled... a pretty attractive looking starting point:

Cardhu - distilled 1997- 252 bottles - £250

Elgin - distilled 1998 - 534 bottles - £250

Linkwood - distilled 1996 - 480 bottles - £200

Mortlach- distilled 1997 - 240 bottles - £250

Oban- distilled 2000 - 534 bottles - £300

Teaninich - distilled 1996 - 246 bottles - £200

However, one thing keeps nagging away whilst I type this....the pricing.

Granted, some of these
bottlings will become legendary- especially when we get into the Talisker/Lagavulin/Caol Ila territory (look at the 15 yo Caol Ila Manager's Dram of old - purportedly an astonishing sherried expression of Caol Ila & now retailing for around 500 quid).

But consider one thing:

At this years
Feis Ile, the "Diageo-owned-operational-Islay-distilleries" both released single cask bottlings, of a similar age to the Managers Choice, hand selected by The Manager (or Iain McArthur in Lagavulin's case) which retailed for between 60 and 70 quid. That seems like pretty good value, in any financial climate. Okay, you had to get to Islay on a certain week at the end of May, but I can't help thinking that the new bottlings seem mightily expensive, especially when you can pick up one of these bottling on eBay (or equivalent site) for well under what the first batch of the Managers Choice's are being released at.

That said, these bottles are unique and individual. And to have a complete collection of Manager's Choice
bottlings in one's cabinet would be pretty impressive, wouldn't it? This is mirrored in the press release where Classic Malts Selection spokesperson Nick Morgan says:

"We have occasionally issued single-cask bottlings of individual single malt whiskies before, for instance for visitors to the annual Islay Festival. And single-cask bottlings of our malts can sometimes be obtained from independent bottlers.

“But this is a much more ambitious venture - the most extensive collection we’ve ever released of single cask malt whisky bottlings, from 27 of our operational malt distilleries, involving both the well-known and those whose product isn’t widely available.

“Each individual distillery cask selected by the experts after an extensive examination has doubly earned its place in The Managers’ Choice, regardless of its age: because it faithfully illuminates that distillery's individual DNA, and also because it will offer the connoisseur a different, interesting and perhaps unexpected experience of that whisky.”

Hopefully at some point we'll be in a position to bring you a few notes on a couple of the Managers Choice whiskies but until then, you can re-enjoy the notes on the Caol Ila Feis Ile 2009 (Billy even put his signature on that bottle...) and the 2007, 2008 and 2009 single cask Lagavulins by clicking on the text.