The 2017 Diageo Special Releases Collection, Ranked

The Diageo Special Releases Collection is one of the most anticipated scotch releases of the year, and contains some of the most sought after single malts and single grains in the world. It’s a big deal for collectors, as well as anyone savvy enough to know how to find a scotch bargain.

It’s also our favorite time of the year because, well, we get to try them all. Maybe your life is more interesting than ours, but it’s not often that we get samples of nearly $9,000 worth of single malts in our mailbox. It’s a rare privilege.

What’s special about the collection isn’t just that some of the whiskies are old. Some of them are from distilleries that ceased operations more than 30 years ago. One of them is half a century old. Some of them are special versions of familiar whiskies that will change how you see distilleries you thought you knew so well.

The problem with these amazing bottles is that the majority of whisky drinkers (myself included) could never afford to snag the whole collection. In the past we’ve picked favorites out for gift guides, or singled out the most expensive ones to drool over (usually Port Ellen).

Well, this year we’re going in a different direction. We spent several painstaking hours toiling over the task of tasting all nine of them, for the purpose of ranking them. Here are the results of our totally subjective taste test.