In previous years the Diageo Special Releases were littered with closed distilleries. Now it’s just the one, a Pittyvaich 30 Years distilled in 1989. And sure, it fits the definition, but it was barely ever open to begin with.
Brora and Port Ellen used to be the highlights of the annual Special Releases. But they’ve been moved to their own special little corner of luxury releases ever since their reopening was announced. That leaves the ball in the court of second (or third) tier closed distilleries like Pittyvaich, which doesn’t quite have the same cachet.
Pittyvaich only produced single malt for 18 years. It was opened in 1975 by Arthur Bell & Sons, at a time when their signature blend Bell’s was Britain’s top-selling blend. Pittyvaich was established next to Dufftown distillery, which was also owned by Arthur Bell & Sons at the time. It was bought ten years later by Diageo, closed in 1993 and demolished in 2002. When it was open it only ever produced for blends, although there once was a short-lived Flora & Fauna expression.
Since we’ve only rarely seen new releases. The independent don’t seem to have many casks at all, and I suppose neither does Diageo. Only a handful of expressions have been released by its owners, all of them as part of the Special Releases.
This latest release is 30 years old and initially matured in refill bourbon casks, before being finished in first-fill bourbon casks. That’s rarely a great sign, but we’ll keep an open mind.
Pittyvaich 30 Years (50.8%, OB, Special Releases 2020)
Nose: Sweet porridge with a drizzle of honey, but also some lime peel and just a touch of beeswax and furniture polish. There’s a whiff of sour beer, a well as some eucalyptus. Finally just a whisper of chocolate truffles. Very elegant and mature.
Taste: Quite creamy and certainly pretty singular. Some faint IPA-ish quality but also Chinese liquorice, tobacco and a touch of ginger. There’s whiffs of apple and citrus as well. Water brings out more orchard fruits.
Finish: Spicy followed by a lingering fruitiness.
Interesting profile that share’s some similarities with the Dalwhinnie from this years Special Releases, but the Pittyvaich 30 Years is entirely different at the same time.
More Diageo Special Releases 2020
Do you want to read more of my reviews of this year’s Diageo Special Releases? I’ve compiled a neat little list below. Enjoy!
Sample provided by Diageo