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Diageo’s Distiller’s edition series – an attempt at a complete list

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At some point in the mid- to late 1990s, Diageo started releasing versions of their ”six classic malts” which had all been finished in some kind of fortified wine. This series of whiskies, called Distiller’s Edition, are known to whisky aficionados around the world simply as the DE. The DE that seem to capture most of the attention are, in this order, those that come from Lagavulin, Lagavulin, Lagavulin, Lagavulin, Lagavulin, Lagavulin, Lagavulin, and then maybe some people discuss Talisker and the Caol ila versions. I have spent the entire day googling and ”whiskybaseing” this series of whiskies, in an attempt to create a definitive list of everything that has been released as a Distiller’s edition. At first, I googled for such a list, but could not find it. What’s a poor nerd to do? Why, create it, of course!

It all started with the so-called ”Six classic malts”: Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie, Lagavulin, Oban and Talisker. However, over time some distilleries have been added (and also dropped) from Diageo’s DE series. Caol ila was added in 2006, as was Clynelish (although that distillery was dropped in 2012). For a while there, the not-too-highly regarded Royal Lochnagar was also putting out yearly Distiller’s editions (the years 2008–2012). Perhaps they were dropped from the series of whiskies because no-one really bothered, I don’t know – before today, I had no idea that there existed such a thing as Royal Lochnagar Distiller’s Editions. On the other, I have not seen any rush for the Glenkinchie versions either, and they keep on coming out every year, so…

The DE series comes as yearly releases in the autumn and is based on the premise of vintages, so the year the whisky was distilled and put into the cask is always prominently displayed on the bottles. (In a very few cases, some distilleries have had two releases in the same year, as was the case with Caol ila in 2006 and Lagavulin in 2013.) Because the focus of the series is on vintages, this means that the DE bottling of Lagavulin released in 1997 is not known as the 1997 Lagavulin DE, but as the 1979 Lagavulin DE. Hence no less than three different whiskies below are listed as ”Clynelish DE 1992”, since all three whiskies were put in casks in 1992 but bottled in different years. They could of course be referred to as the Clynelish DE 1992–2007, the Clynelish DE 1992–2008 and the Clynelish DE 1992–2009, respectively, but the way I have structured the list below makes the year of the release clear.

However, and herein lies this whisky nerd’s dilemma, the year of bottling is not always readily available. The source for my list is whiskybase. In some cases, the information given there is obviously flawed. In other cases, no year of bottling/release is given, and google has not always been my friend in trying to ascertain when a particular whisky was released. Diageo’s very peculiar bottling codes on these releases, like TD-S: 5EQ, C-si; 5-469 and lgv. 4/495, are, as will be demonstrated below, not always 100% consistent, but do give clues as to the order in which specific whiskies were released.

Anyways, nuff said: here goes the almost-complete list of every Distiller’s Edition ever released, organised in alphabetical order after the distilleries. If you have anything you would like to add to the list, please comment below or send an e-mail to me at david.tjeder@gmail.com. Slainte!

All Distiller’s Edition releases from Caol ila (2006–present, ten releases)

These are all double matured in moscatel wine casks and bottled at 43% ABV.

1. 2006 release: Caol ila DE 1993. Bottle code: C-si;1-465.
2. 2006, 2nd release: Caol ila DE 1993. Bottle code: C-si; 2-466.
3. 2007 release: Caol ila DE 1995. Bottle code: C-si; 3-467.
4. 2008 release: Caol ila DE 1996. Bottle code: C-si; 4-468.
5. 2009 release: Caol ila DE 1996. Bottle code: C-si; 5-469
6. 2010 release: Caol ila DE 1997. Bottle code: C-si; 6-470.
7. 2011 release: Caol ila DE 1998. Bottle code: C-si; 7-471.
8. 2012 release: Caol ila DE 2000. Bottle code: C-si; 8-472.
9. 2013 release: Caol ila DE 2001. Bottle code: C-si; 9-473.
10. 2014 release: Caol ila DE 2002. Bottle code: C-si; 1-474.

All Distiller’s Edition releases from Clynelish (2006–2012, seven releases)

These are all double matured in oloroso sherry wood and bottled at 46% ABV.

  1. 2006 release: Clynelish DE 1991. Bottle code: Cl-Br: 169-1f.
  2. 2007 release: Clynelish DE 1992. Bottle code: Cl-Br: 170-2g.
  3. 2008 release: Clynelish DE 1992. Bottle code: Cl-Br: 171-3h.
  4. 2009 release: Clynelish DE 1992. Bottle code: Cl-Br: 172-3i.
  5. 2010 release: Clynelish DE 1993. Bottle code: Cl-Br: 173-5j.
  6. 2011 release: Clynelish DE 1997. Bottle code: Cl-Br: 174-6k.
  7. 2012 release: Clynelish DE 1997. Bottle code: Cl-Br: 175-7l.

A quick google search for the bottling code Cl-Br: 176-7m yielded no results, so it would seem that no more DE:s of Clynelish have been released since 2012.

All Distiller’s Edition releases from Cragganmore (1999?–present, 17 releases)

These are all double matured in (ruby) port wood casks and bottled at 40% ABV.

  1. 1999? release: Cragganmore DE 1984. Bottle code: CggD-6549. (Given that the 2000 release has the code CggD-6550, I surmise that this was bottled in 1999, but it is not certain.)
  2. 2000 release: Cragganmore DE 1985. Bottle code: CggD-6550.
  3. 2000 special? 2nd? release? Cragganmore DE 1986. Bottle code: CggD-6551. (This rather mysterious whisky, 750 ml according to whiskybase and thus intended for the US or Canada, has no picture of the bottle.)
  4. 2001 release: Cragganmore DE 1987. Bottle code: CggD-6552.

Note: whiskybase also has a whisky registered as being released in the year 2000, but with the code CggD-6552; in all probability, this post has a flawed bottling/release date.

  1. 2002 release: Cragganmore DE 1988. Bottling code: CggD-6553.

Note: there seems to have been no release with the bottling code CggD-6554.

  1. 2003 release: Cragganmore DE 1990. Bottling code: CggD-6555.
  2. 2004 release: Cragganmore DE 1991. Bottling code: CggD-6556.
  3. 2005 release: Cragganmore DE 1992. Bottling code: CggD-6557.
  4. 2006 release: Cragganmore DE 1993. Bottling code: CggD-6558.

This bottle is a tricky one. The picture provided in whiskybase actually has the bottling code CggD-6559, and should thus be a fawlty picture. The one-litre version in whiskybase for the 2006 release certainly has the code Cggd-6558; that, however, looks very much like the picture for the 2007 release. It is, in all probability, some fawlty pictures confusing the situation here.

  1. 2007 release: Cragganmore DE 1993. Bottling code: CggD-6559.
  2. 2008 release: Cragganmore DE 1996. Bottling code: CggD-6560.
  3. 2009 release: Cragganmore DE 1997. Bottling code: CggD-6561.
  4. 2010 release: Cragganmore DE 1997. Bottling code: CggD-6562.
  5. 2011 release: Cragganmore DE 1998. Bottling code: CggD-6563.
  6. 2012 release: Cragganmore DE 1998. Bottling code: CggD-6564.
  7. 2013 release: Cragganmore DE 2000. Bottle code: CggD-6565.
  8. 2014 release: Cragganmore DE 2001. Bottle code: CggD-6566.

All Distiller’s Edition releases from Dalwhinnie (199something–present, 17? releases)

These are all double matured in Oloroso sherry wood and are all bottled at 43% ABV.

  1. 199something release: Dalwhinnie DE 1980. Bottle code: D.SC.312. (Unfortunately, whiskybase does not give the bottling/release year of this whisky, and searches on the bottling code only reveals that this was the first DE released from Dalwhinnie, not which year it was released.)
  2. 199…7? release: Dalwhinnie DE 1981. Bottle code: D.SD.312. (Given that two codes are ”missing” – see below – this might be a 1997 release.)

Google and whiskybase give no clues as to Distiller’s editions for years of release prior to the DE released in 2000; the ”missing” bottle codes of D.SE.312 for 1998 and D.SF.312 yield no results.

  1. 2000 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1984. Bottle code: D.SG.312.
  2. 2001 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1985. Bottle code: D.SH.312.
  3. 2002 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1986. Bottle code: D.SI.312.

The bottle code which shold be in between the 2002 and 2003 releases, D.SJ.312, yields no relevant result on a Google search.

  1. 2003 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1988. Bottle code: D.SK.312.
  2. 2004 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1989. Bottle code: D.SL.312.
  3. 2005 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1990. Bottle code: D.SM.312.
  4. 2006 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1990. Bottle code: D.SN.312.
  5. 2007 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1990. Bottle code: D.SO.312.
  6. 2008 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1991. Bottle code: D.SP.312.
  7. 2009 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1991. Bottle code: D.SQ.312.
  8. 2010 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1992. Bottle code: D.SR.312.
  9. 2011 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1995. Bottle code: D.SS.312.
  10. 2012 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1996. Bottle code: D.ST.312.
  11. 2013 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1997. Bottle code: D.SU.312.
  12. 2014 release: Dalwhinnie DE 1997. Bottle code: D.SV.312.

All Distiller’s Edition releases from Glenkinchie (1999–present, 15? releases)

These are double matured in Amontillado sherry wood and bottled at 43% ABV.

  1. 1999 release: Glenkinchie DE 1986. Bottle code: G/273-7-D.
  2. 2000 release: Glenkinchie DE 1987. Bottle code G/274-7-D.
  3. 2001 release: Glenkinchie DE 1988. Bottle code: G/275-7-D. (Whiskybase does not give the year of the release, but given the codes this must have been released in 2001.)
  4. 2002 release: Glenkinchie DE 1989. Bottle code: G/276-7-D.
  5. 2003 release: Glenkinchie DE 1989. Bottle code: G/277-7-D.
  6. 2004 release: Glenkinchie DE 1990. Bottle code: G/278-7-D.
  7. 2005 release: Glenkinchie DE 1991. Bottle code: G/279-7-D.

Although the bottle codes do not imply that something is missing here, the release years do; was there really no Glenkinchie DE released in 2006?

  1. 2007 release: Glenkinchie DE 1992. Bottle code: G/280-7-D.
  2. 2008 release: Glenkinchie DE 1995. Bottle code: G/281-7-D.
  3. 2009 release: Glenkinchie DE 1995. Bottle code: G/282-7-D.
  4. 2010 release: Glenkinchie DE 1996. Bottle code: G/283-7-D.
  5. 2011 release: Glenkinchie DE 1996. Bottle code: G/284-7-D.
  6. 2012 release: Glenkinchie DE 1999. Bottle code: G/285-7-D,
  7. 2013 release: Glenkinchie DE 2000. Bottle code: G/286-7-D.
  8. 2014 release: Glenkinchie DE 2000. Bottle code: G/287-7-D.

All Distiller’s Edition releases from Lagavulin (1997–present, 18 releases)

These are all double matured in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks and bottled at 43% ABV.

  1. 1997 release: Lagavulin DE 1979. Bottle code: lgv.4/463.

There was no release in 1998.

  1. 1999 release: Lagavulin DE 1980. Bottle code: lgv.4/464.
  2. 2000 release: Lagavulin DE 1981. Bottle code: lgv. 4/465.
  3. 2001 release: Lagavulin DE 1984. Bottle code: lgv. 4/468. (Notice the strange ”jump” in code numbers here; there are no lgv. 4/466 or lgv. 4/467.)
  4. 2002 release: Lagavulin DE 1986. Bottle code: lgv. 4/490. (Again, the code numbers shift with this release, this time quite a bit.)
  5. 2003 release: Lagavulin DE 1987. Bottle code: lgv. 4/491.
  6. 2004 release: Lagavulin DE 1988. Bottle code: lgv. 4/492.
  7. 2005 release: Lagavulin DE 1989. Bottle code: lgv. 4/493.
  8. 2006 release: Lagavulin DE 1990. Bottle code: lgv. 4/494.
  9. 2007 release: Lagavulin DE 1991. Bottle code: lgv. 4/495.
  10. 2008 release: Lagavulin DE 1991. Bottle code: lgv. 4/496.
  11. 2009 release: Lagavulin DE 1993. Bottle code: lgv. 4/497.
  12. 2010 release: Lagavulin DE 1994. Bottle code: lgv. 4/498.
  13. 2011 release: Lagavulin DE 1995. Bottle code: lgv. 4/499.
  14. 2012 release: Lagavulin DE 1996. Bottle code: lgv. 4/500.
  15. 2013 special release: Lagavulin DE 1995. Bottle code: lgv. 4/501. (According both to whiskybase and to a rumor I have not been able to corroborate, this was a very limited release of only 3000 bottles.)
  16. 2013 release: Lagavulin DE 1997. Bottle code: lgv. 4/502.
  17. 2014 release: Lagavulin DE 1998. Bottle code: lgv. 4/503.

All Distiller’s Edition releases from Oban (1995? 1997?–present, 18 releases)

These are all double matured in ”Montilla and Fino sherry wood”, which would imply that they are actually never in bourbon barrels to begin with? Montilla wines are not sherry, but very similar to sherry, while Fino is a very delicate type of sherry. They are all bottled at 43% ABV.

  1. 1997? release: Oban DE 1980. Bottle code: OD 143.FF. The release year given in whiskybase, 1995, seems way too early and would make this the first DE ever released by quite some years’ time; plus, three ”codes down”, we are already in the year 2000, so the data given in whiskybase that it was bottled in 1995 seems spurious to me.

The ”missing” bottle code OD 143.FG yields no relevant results on Google.

  1. 1999? release: Oban DE 1982. Bottle code: OD 145.FH. Whiskybase does not give the year of the release, so the year 1999 is a conjecture based on the bottling code. A picture is available here.
  2. 2000 special release: Oban DE 1983. Bottle code: OD 146.FI. This whisky was bottled exclusively for Canada, naturally in a 750 ml bottle.
  3. 2000 release: Oban DE 1984. Bottle code: OD 147.FJ.
  4. 2001 release: Oban DE 1985. Bottle code: OD 148.FK.
  5. 2002 release: Oban DE 1987. Bottle code: OD 150.FM.

A Google search for the next missing bottle code, OD 151.FN, actually yields Barack Obama’s Facebook page as the second hit!

  1. 2003 release: Oban DE 1989. Bottle code: OD 152.FO.
  2. 2004 release: Oban DE 1990. Bottle code: OD 153.FP.
  3. 2005 release: Oban DE 1991. Bottle code: OD 154.FQ.
  4. 2006 release: Oban DE 1992. Bottle code: OD 155.FR.
  5. 2007 release: Oban DE 1992. Bottle code: OD 156.FS.
  6. 2008 release: Oban DE 1993. Bottle code: OD 157.FT.
  7. 2009 release: Oban DE 1995. Bottle code: OD 158.FV. (Whiskybase does not give the code as such, but the code is corroborated by Malt Maniacs. Note that this bottling should have had the bottle code OD 158.FU, but I guess Diageo found those last two letters perhaps too offensive to be put into a bottle code…)
  8. 2010 release: Oban DE 1995. Bottle code: OD 159.FW. (The bottle code is more easily discernible on the whiskybase entry for the full litre bottle.)
  9. 2011 release: Oban DE 1996: 1996–2011, 43%, bottle code OD 160.FX.
  10. 2012 release: Oban DE 1997. Bottle code: OD 161.FY.
  11. 2013 release: Oban DE 1998. Bottle code: OD 162.FX. Note that the bottle code for this bottling should have been OD 162.FZ, since it follows from OD 161.FY.
  12. 2014 release: Oban DE 1999. Bottle code: OD 163.FZ. Again, liberties taken with the alphabet, here.

Note: for the 2015 release, let’s see if Diageo goes back to A or if they do that strange ”we don’t want the alphabet to end” stunt that they pulled with the 2013 release, eh?

All Distiller’s Edition bottlings from Royal Lochnagar (five releases, 2008–2012)

These little-known whiskies are all double-matured, i. e. finished, in muscat wine casks. They are all bottled at 40% ABV.

  1. 2008 release: Royal Lochnagar DE 1996. Bottle code: RL/96-8S.
  2. 2009 release: Royal Lochnagar DE 1996. Bottle code: RL/96-9T.
  3. 2010 release: Royal Lochnagar DE 1998. Bottle code: RL/98-10U.
  4. 2011 release: Royal Lochnagar DE 1998. Bottle code: RL/98-11V.
  5. 2012 release: Royal Lochnagar DE 2000. Bottle code: RL/00-12W.

As with Clynelish, it would seem that Diageo decided not to pursue this series of bottlings for Royal Lochnagar after 2012; I tried googling codes like RL/00-13X, RL/01-13X, RL/99-13X etc, but to no avail.

All Distiller’s Edition bottlings from Talisker (1999–present, 17 releases)

These are all double matured in what’s called ”Amoroso sherry” wood. Amoroso is, if you’re a sherry nerd, not really a sherry type in and of itself, but something of a sherry bastard: a sweetened oloroso sherry. These are all bottled at Talisker’s traditional ABV, 45,8%.

  1. 1999 release: Talisker DE 1986. Bottle code: TD-S: 5AM.

Whiskybase contains this entry for a Talisker DE 1986 said to have been released in 1997; however, this seems to me to very likely be a faulty entry. It has the same bottle code as the 1999 release, which as a code obviously is placed in the year prior to the 2000 release. A search for the code which logically should precede TD-s: 5AM, i. e. TD-S: 5ZL, yields no result.

  1. 2000 release: Talisker DE 1987. Bottle code: TD-S: 5BN.
  2. 2001 release: Talisker DE 1988. Bottle code: TD-S: 5CO.
  3. 2002 release: Talisker DE 1989. Bottle code: TD-S: 5DP.
  4. 2003 release: Talisker DE 1990. Bottle code TD-S: 5EQ.
  5. 2004 release: Talisker DE 1991. Bottle code: TD-S: 5FR.
  6. 2005 release: Talisker DE 1991. Bottle code: TD-S: 5GS. (It would seem that this bottling was released only for the taxfree market.)
  7. 2005, 2nd release: Talisker DE 1992. Bottle code: TD-S: 5HT.
  8. 2006 release: Talisker DE 1993. Bottle code: TD-S: 5IU.
  9. 2007 release: Talisker DE 1993. Bottle code: TD-S: 5JV. Whiskybase erroneously claims this is just another version of the 2006 release, which of course is another whisky.
  10. 2008 release: Talisker DE 1996. Bottle code: TD-S: 5KW.
  11. 2009 release: Talisker DE 1998. Bottle code: TD-S: 5LX.
  12. 2010 release: Talisker DE 1999. Bottle code: TD-S: 5MY.
  13. 2011 release: Talisker DE 2000. Bottle code: TD-S: 5NZ.
  14. 2012 release: Talisker DE 2001. Bottle code: TD-S: 5OA.
  15. 2013 release: Talisker DE 2001. Bottle code: TD-S: 5PB.
  16. 2014 release: Talisker DE 2003. Bottle code: TD-S: 5QC.

Well, that’s that, then! That’s like nine hours of my life I will never get back, but hopefully, this list will prove useful to some whisky aficionados out there. Again, slainte!

 

NOTE: Cooley distillery has relased two Connemara Distiller’s Edition, in 2010 and 2014, but these are not part of the series of whiskies listed above.


En kommentar

  1. Thank you for your great job, i own a bottle of Clynelish DE Cl-Br: 172-4i 1992-2009. It’s not listed on your article but it exists.

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