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Issue 83 - Making the grade

Whisky Magazine Issue 83
October 2009


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Making the grade

In a Whisky Magazine exclusive we go behind the scenes of this ambitious project.

Our considerations about the current state of the collector's market coincided with the release of the first six whiskies in Diageo's Managers' Choice selection, which will see the distiller releasing single cask bottlings from each of its 27 distilleries over the next year. Each bottling (at cask strength and non-chillfiltered) will give between £200 and £600 bottles depending on the cask.

It's a project which has generated considerable debate, most of which revolved around, the pricing – all in excess of £200 and the release of a Nine Years Old Oban as one of the first tranche of six.

We talked to Craig Wallace about choosing the whiskies and also Dr Nick Morgan, Scotch heritage director about the project and the reaction to it.

To round it off, we also have exclusive tasting of the entire Managers' Choice range.

CRAIG WALLACE MALT WHISKY SPECIALIST WM: When the call came from marketing to select a cask from each distillery how did you start?

CW: I interrogated the inventory to find out what was available from each distillery, then looked at the different wood types and the ages which were available. Then I compared this with the whiskies which were currently available from each distillery and tried, where possible, to find a different cask type to what was currently available. It was a lot of work. Hundreds of samples, though it was relatively easy for the eight of us in Menstrie to narrow it down to seven or eight.

Getting that down to the three that we were to...

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