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Diageo Special Releases 2020

The Diageo annual collection explores unusual age points, experimental maturation techniques

Created by Diageo master blender Dr. Craig Wilson, the whiskies tend to be experiments in flavor, bringing out unusual profiles that are not often associated with the distillery the whiskies are sourced from.

This year, we welcome to the line-up the first ever release finished in pot-still Caribbean rum casks. Like the 2019 releases the “Rare by Nature” theme highlights the extraordinary nature that surrounds each distillery.

Below are 4 of these special releases, comprising of 8 in total.

Sign up for the stock-alerts for when these rare whiskies arrive into stock:

The Mortlach 21 Year Old 2020 Special Release

The Talisker 8 Year Old 2020 Special Release

The Cardhu 11 Year Old 2020 Special Release

The Singleton of Dufftown 17 Year Old 2020 Special Release

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A moments release from Port Ellen – a 40 year old ‘9 Rogue Casks’.

Port Ellen 40 Year Old 9 Rogue Casks Whisky
Port Ellen 40 Year Old 9 Rogue Casks

What do we know about this iconic distillery? Port Ellen hugs the coastline on the revered isle of Islay off the west coast of Scotland, this distillery has achieved legendary status amongst connoisseurs in the know with whiskies that are among the most sought after, with the magic and mystique growing with age since the distillery’s closure in 1983. Plans are now in place and work has started on rebuilding a brand new distillery to re-open in 2021.

The stocks from Port Ellen before closure in 1983 are limited in quantity and highly revered by the whisky experts as they improve with age. Special releases of these stocks offer a unique opportunity to own a part of Port Ellen’s history. There are only 1380 bottles available of the 9 Rogue Casks release which makes it both the oldest and the most limited public release from the distillery.

Here at House of Malt towers, we do love a good Port Ellen, and being the oldest ever release from this iconic distillery we are very excited to try this one, aged whisky being ‘better’ is something that is not always the case – however Port Ellen ages incredibly well, and we think that this will be the best Port Ellen yet. Not a cheap bottle by any stretch, but enthusiasts and collectors will be fighting for this one.

House of Malt are taking pre-orders on this special release now, link below:

Tasting notes from Port Ellen are:

Nose: Delicate, grassy/herbal, burnt tangerine skin, very mild smoke at cask strength, opens up a little with the addition of water, crème caramel/roasted coffee, red fruit compote, ripe peach skin.

Palate: Much more pronounced bonfire smoke, pipe tobacco, leather, wood spice.

Finish: Long, wispy smoke finish.

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Whisky is good for you…

It’s open season for influenza and us mere mortals are easy pickings! We know this time of year well. We sit anxiously at our desks, playing Russian roulette with our colleagues as to who will be struck down with Sue from accounting’s lurgy next!

For once, science has brought us some good tidings that proves it’s not all doom and gloom. Whisky my friends, is good for you! It is your ally in this winter war against the sniffles. For the cure-less common cold whisky may in fact lessen the symptoms. We’re looking at you Hot Toddy! HT, the classic winter warmer of whisky, honey, lemon and hot water that your great Aunt swears by! Where the hot water lessens nasal congestion, the alcohol itself dilates the blood vessels allowing your mucus membranes to fight off the infection!  WOAH!

It got us thinking…why stop at a hot toddy? We may not be dr’s here at HOM but we do know our whiskies so using the principles listed above, here are our suggestions to ease your seasonal ailments!

Arran Gold Latte

Cream liqueur and steamed milk meld seamlessly together with dark, rich espresso cutting through the sweetness.  The caffeine in the coffee also has pain killing properties that will directly target a head cold and clear the fog a little.

50ml Arran Gold

1 shot of espresso

200ml steamed milk

Scotch Coffee

John Dolan; Photographer; 2017.07

A highland twist on the Irish classic. Big sherry cask whisky nods from Glendronach and rich and aromatic tones from the cafetière coffee. Not forgetting a generous helping of whipped cream.

50ml of Glendronach 12

200ml Medium Roast Cafetière coffee with a spoonful of brown sugar

However much whipped cream you can handle

Cinnamon sugar for dusting

Spiked Apple and Ginger


This one has both vitamins to get you back to fighting strength and ginger, a natural cure for stomach woes. Take equal parts Apple Juice and Ginger Ale and bring to a simmer, add a couple of cloves and a stick of cinnamon. Pour into your favourite mug, jar or goblet of fire and add a generous shot of Bourbon. Garnish with an orange slice for yet more vitamin goodness.

100ml Apple Juice

100ml Ginger Ale

50ml Bourbon (we suggest FEW or Elijah Craig)

2 cloves

1 Cinnamon Stick

1 slice of Orange

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In the spirit of giving (Part 1)

As the unspeakably fast approaching, unmentionable festive period of gift giving dawns upon us we have been stocking up on goodies to give to loved ones or to bequeath to oneself to simply take the edge off of the coming excitement!

Gin David

Have you met David? Hailing from the rugged landscapes of Tuscany this handsome chap is not just a pretty face. The cleanest, most crisp gin to grace the shelves of House Of Malt it boasts prominent notes of juniper, coriander and sweet orange peel.  It was created with a “Thirst of Magnificence” in mind and we happen to think it achieved this quite nicely. Ideal for the gin aficionado in your life that you’re looking to impress!

Crystal Head Vodka Range

From the OG Ghostbuster Dan Ackroyd himself comes the Crystal Head Vodka range. From the highest quality peaches and cream corn this four-time distilled premium vodka is blended with pristine Canadian water and filtered through…DIAMONDS! We have the regular 70cl but for something rather outlandishly spectacular we also have the 1.75 litre magnums. As if that wasn’t enough food for thought we also have the epically designed John Alexander edition. For the ever so difficult to buy for… look no further because I bet they don’t have this!

Gift Packs!Gift Packs! Gift Packs!

Back to the drams we have a selection of glass packs from some of the finest whisky distilleries in all the land. Certainly, two whiskies that need no introduction, Islay darlings Port Charlotte and Bruchladdich to name but two! . We also have gift sets from Talisker, Glendronach, Glen Moray and many more.

Kilchoman Machir Bay and Sanaig 20cl Gift Pack

Finally, from Kilchoman comes a gift that any smoke show whisky fan will delight in, Kilchoman Machir Bay & Sanaig 20cl Gift Pack. Embodying the best of both worlds we have Sanaig aged in both bourbon and sherry casks with hints of smokey plum, butterscotch and dried fruit and Machir Bay championing the sweet peatiness the distillery is renowned for.

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Greetings Whisky Fans…

Here at House of Malt we are partial to the belief that every season is Whisky season. However, as the greens turn to amber’s and gold and we’re greeted by the old familiar nip of the cold, as the nights grow longer and darker, we find that to resist one’s favourite dram becomes that much harder.

Seeing as we are spoilt for choice here in the whisky shop of wonder’s we thought that it was only fair that we share with you what is warming our cockles on these mild Autumn nights. From single malt to single grain, form Scotland to Japan we have a dram for every budget and every pallet.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Port Dundas 13 Year Old Single Cask Grain Whisky

First up is the Douglas Laing bottling of the Port Dundas 13 Single grain. This one was distilled in July 2004 and matured in American Oak barrels until it’s bottling for the Old Particular range in March 2018. On the nose we have Cadbury’s chocolate eclairs and a hint of orchard fruit. The pallet is a delight of mixed berries and a generous helping of clotted cream finishing up with tart citrus notes cutting through the decadent sweetness.

Arran 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky (2019 release)

We’ve been making all the googley eyes at Arran 10’s spectacular re-brand of late and it would be rude not to revisit their core staple. Herbaceous on the nose channelling the plush, green fields of Arran, this easy drinking single malt is reminiscent of sweet cheesecake base and rich apple sauce. A slight bitterness on the end but it’s so damn good looking we forgive it!

Hibiki Japanese Harmony Blended Whisky

Thanks to the fresh drop of Hibiki Harmony at the shop we’ve been obliged once more to indulge in the treat from the East. This is a honeyed berry bomb on the nose and the pallet kicks in with an irresistible, buttery, sticky toffee pudding before giving way to a peppery, oak abundant finish. Sweet and fragrant and extremely moreish. This blend takes whiskey from the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, as well as grain whisky from the Chita distillery. 5 different cask types were used  but we’ll see if you can guess them?

Brora 40 Year Old 200th Anniversary Limited Edition

Setting phasers to stun for our final pick we are lucky to have in our possession the exclusive Brora 40-Year-old that was limited to a bottling of just 1,819 bottles from their 1978 Hogsheads. At 49.2% abv we have wax and leather intertwine seamlessly in this seductively smooth, powerful and darkly sweet whisky. With a slight tease of Tobacco and reek at the end, this is a rich delicacy for the coming winter months.