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Diageo’s predecessor, United Distillers, launched Rare Malts selection in 1995. It followed The Classic Malts and Flora & Fauna series and originally included whiskies from closed distilleries, always bottled uncut and unchill-filtered. As stocks diminished the company included rare vintages from the distilleries still in operation. Royal Lochnagar is the smallest distillery in Diageo’s portfolio with capacity reaching 500 000 liters of spirit per annum. The 2004 Rare Malts bottling comprises whisky aged predominantly in ex-sherry casks and bottled at natural strength of 56.2% abv with an outrun of 6000 bottles.
Nose: nutty and grassy, slightly spirity, hay, straw, malted barley, walnuts, hints of honey, candied ginger and oak.
Palate: sweet and fruity with pretty strong peppery notes, baked apples, peaches, roasted nuts, caramel, hints of ginger and licorice.
Finish: long and pretty dry with notes of pepper, ginger and oaky bitterness.