Each year, whisky enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the unveiling of Diageo’s Special Release single malt collection, a curated selection of exceptional whiskies from some of Scotland’s most prestigious distilleries, all presented at natural cask strength. The 2023 edition, released in Australia in March 2024, has been labelled “Spirited Xchange” and represents a diverse array of expressions, each showcasing the craftsmanship and regionality that Diageo can draw from its network of world-class distilleries. From rare single malts to carefully crafted blends, the 2023 Special Release whiskies is an exploration for the senses with their depth, complexity, and undeniable robustness. It’s also a journey around the globe as the master distillers and blenders used a range of cask finishes and influencers from across the planet.

Diageo’s Head of Advocacy, Kate McGraw, is travelling around the country with samples, and if you’re lucky enough to have tried some of the collection you may well be moved to invest in a special bottle. As Kate put’s it: “It’s whisky for whisky people”.

“As the popularity of whisky continues to grow in Australia, Diageo’s Special Releases ‘Spirited Xchange 2023’ Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection offers an exciting, new way to explore the diversity and depth of Scottish Whisky. This collection looks at whisky through the lens of cultural and flavour collaboration, a unique tasting experience that combines some of the world’s most revered and treasured whisky distilleries with a modern sensibility,” said McGraw.

The Diageo Special Release Whiskies of 2023 represent eight distilleries that are innovative yet true to their regional and traditional expressions, paired with eight countries offering a unique flavour and finish. There is craftsmanship and artistry displayed by the master distillers and blenders from some of Scotland’s most recognised brands, and some lesser known yet just as impressive. From the peaty shores of Islay to the tranquil glens of Speyside, each expression offers a unique and unforgettable journey through Scotland’s diverse whisky regions. 

The whole collection is presented at cask strength, a unique opportunity to explore the full range of flavours from the distillery style and the different cask finishes in the collection.

Lagavulin 12 Year Old

Leading the line-up is the highly anticipated Lagavulin 12 Year Old finished in aged Tequila casks. This limited-edition expression is sophisticated beyond its years, with layers of peat smoke and maritime brine integrated with the vegetative agave expression. The palate hosts juicy plums, notes of dark chocolate, dried fruits, and subtle spices. The lingering, smoky finish leaves a lasting impression backed up by the bottling at 56.4% abv.

RRP $220


This whisky is presented at a thumping 59.7% abv. A sublime single malt from the rugged shores of Skye, the robust nature is complimented by finishing in a combination of ruby, white and tawny port casks. The signature maritime character of Talisker, with bracing sea spray, peppery warmth, and a hint of bonfire smoke on the nose embraces a palate of ripe orchard fruits, caramelized nuts, and sea salt.

RRP $170

Singleton of Glen Ord 14 Year Old

For those seeking a refined and approachable dram, the Singleton of Glen Ord 14 Year Old delivers even at its natural cask strength of 55% abv. This Speyside single malt exudes elegance and sophistication, with delicate floral notes, sweet vanilla, and a hint of honeyed oak on the nose. The palate offers a harmonious blend of ripe orchard fruits, creamy toffee, and gentle spices, culminating in a smooth, lingering finish that leaves a gentle warmth on the palate. The 14 year old is finished in French oak casks.

RRP $170

Glenkinchie 27 Year Old

Matured in a combination of refill American and European oak, the oldest whisky in the releases this year comes from Glenkinchie. In fact, this is the oldest ever Glenkinchie bottling direct from the distillery. At 58.3% this lowland single malt is not shy. Orchard fruits joined by almond and vanilla and fresh cut grass. The distillery style remains true with an opulent mouthfeel that starts with light sweetness and develops into a vibrant oaky spiciness with a dry finish.

RRP $599

Clynelish 10 Year Old

Matured in exclusively first fill bourbon American oak casks – think honeyed flavours, rich caramel, and vanilla spice. There’s an undertone of maritime minerality and a powerful rich and long finish, transported with the 57.5% bottling.  The whisky is a fusion of sweet and savoury notes: ripe fruit, honeyed malt, and subtle coastal brininess. 

RRP $240

Oban 11 Year Old

A true Caribbean twist on a Highland tradition, this unique expression is a medley of sweet and spiciness. Rich layers of vanilla, toffee and butterscotch complemented by the rum cask finish that gives the whisky a delightful complexity and richness.Tropical fruits; banana, pineapple and coconut emerge to bring a taste of the Caribbean to the Highland character of Oban.  Innovation and tradition in a 58% abv Highland whisky.

RRP $199

Roseisle 12 Year Old

An impeccably balanced and refined whisky from the Roseisle distillery from the heart of Scotland, this whisky is a hidden gem. The 12-year-old is matured in ex-bourbon casks and bottled at 56.5% abv, it displays a nicely balanced, yet powerful, backbone that is complemented by delicious orchard fruits, sweet vanilla and gentle spice on the palate.  White chocolate lies below a layer of ripe fruit and creamy mouthfeel. It’s the unsung hero of the Special Releases that delivers in spades for those that take the time to get to know it better, with a rewarding, balanced, rich and long finish.

RRP $170


Finished in a combination of Japanese whisky and pinot noir casks, the Mortlach Natural Cask Strength was the final whisky in the line-up for 2024. There’s a deep gold appearance and fruity nose; ripe melon and pear followed by a hint of almonds. Full-bodied and rich mouthfeel, the palate displays a balance of fruity sweetness and savoury elements. The bottling is at 58%abv which delivers the required support for a complex and powerful whisky.

RRP $399