Spirit Forward: Diageo’s 2022 Special Releases, Monkey 47’s Distiller’s Cut, and Champagne Telmont

The world of alcohol is a spirited one—here's the latest.

Malaysia has been abuzz with the launch of several collector’s editions of whiskies, new champagnes, and other spirits. From Diageo’s annual Special Releases collection to a limited-edition gin that money can’t buy you, read on to discover what’s new in the world of spirits.

Diageo Special Releases 2022

In recent years, whisky has become an investment on par with the likes of antiques and fine art. One of the most expensive whiskies ever sold in an auction was Craft Irish Whiskey Co.’s The Emerald Isle Collection, coming in at US$2 million in 2021, with The Macallan Fine and Rare 1926 coming in a close second place at US$1.9 million. We find this reason enough to believe that the Diageo Special Releases 2022 is worthy of your collection.

The Diageo ‘Elusive Expressions’ 2022 Special Releases collection, comprising eight whiskies, was recently available for purchase in Malaysia. Each one is carefully blended to perfection and handpicked by Master Blender Dr. Craig Wilson to ensure that they fulfil these three features: rarity, flavour, and fantasy, to pique the interests of whisky connoisseurs worldwide. To add to the mysticism of the collection, each bottle is dressed with striking artwork and stories of mythical beasts, illustrated by Kevin Tong.

The eight whiskies within the 2022 Special Releases collection include the Mortlach NAD, The Singleton of Glen Ord 15-Year-Old, Lagavulin 12-Year-Old, Talisker 11-Year-Old, Clynelish 12-Year-Old, Cardhu 16-Year-Old, Oban 10-Year-Old, and the Cameronbridge 26-Year-Old.

The Diageo ‘Elusive Expressions’ 2022 Special Releases collection will be available for purchase at The Chamber, Starhill Gallery at MYR8,310.75.

Monkey 47 Distiller’s Cut Edition 2022

When we say money can’t buy this experience, we’re not kidding. We recently got to try the Monkey 47 Distiller’s Cut Edition 2022 which isn’t typically available at your local bottle shops. Every year, the gin brand releases this special edition which features a 48th botanical used in the spirit (as its name implies, 47 botanicals are the norm for the regular gin variant). For 2022, the gin makers didn’t venture too far from their German home ground—they chose woodruff, which can be found in the Black Forest.

“This year’s Distiller’s Cut is proof that good things really can be found right before your eyes. At the Black Forest Distillery, one of the experiences we’re really proud to offer guests is an exploration of the amazing ingredients that can be sourced within 47km of the distillery,” said Monkey 47 founder Alexander Stein.

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The addition of woodruff in the Distiller’s Cut Edition 2022 makes the gin a spicy yet elegant one. While woodruff isn’t a plant that we can typically find in this part of the world, its aroma is distinct and unique, thanks to the flavour of coumarin. Coupled with top notes of cinnamon and vanilla, the Monkey 47 Distiller’s Cut Edition 2022 is a unique one that deserves to be sipped on its own before being made into a spirit-forward drink.

Unfortunately, only a select few people get to try the Distiller’s Cut gin annually, as production is extremely limited. The gin makers gift bottles to friends of the brand—but if you’re ever in luck to try the Distiller’s Cut, consider this your talking point. Meanwhile, you can purchase the signature Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin here.

Champagne Telmont

Sustainability has been the buzzword for many industries of late, but not so much in the spirits industry. Champagne Telmont is here to change that, and they’re finally available in Malaysia now. First established in 1912, Telmont has taken the first steps to become an organic production, and since 2017, has gotten its first organic conversion certification for a portion of the vineyards of its estate. Now, the brand is taking measured steps to further strengthen its sustainable practices, including preserving terroir and biodiversity; generalising eco-design by doing away with boxes and packaging, as well as using recycled glass for its green bottles; overhauling the logistics chain, upstream and downstream, to limit greenhouse gas emissions indirectly related to its business; and intensifying traceability and information efforts.

The champagne itself? Marvellous. The Reserve Brut is the one you go for that will never fail you: a blend of three grape variants, it is balanced, elegant, and fruity with tasting notes of pear and custard. The Reserve Rose is when you want to bring it up a notch: it’s a combination of chardonnay and Meunier grapes, with fresh red fruits on the nose and a burst of fresh and complex ripe fruits on the palate.

If you’re in the ultimate celebratory mood, we recommend getting the Blanc de Blancs Vinotheque. The 2006 vintage is a result of a bountiful harvest of chardonnay grapes, carefully aged for 15 years before disgorging in 2022. It’s evident when you bring it to your nose—notes of baked fruits, dates, and almonds beckons what’s to come when you take a sip. Your palate is immediately enveloped in a rich, sophisticated, and complex flavour of roasted vanilla and salted caramel with a tantalising finish.