The Rare Malts series was first launched in 1995 by Scottish Malt Distillers, the forerunner of Diageo. It was designed as a way to showcase some of their more obscure distilleries and their impressive portfolio of aged and maturing casks. The releases were all done in a uniform livery at casks strength and were designed to appeal to dedicated malt whisky enthusiasts. The series ran until it was discontinued in 1995 after 10 very successful years. The whiskies released were numerous and ranged in age from 18 years to 35 years - interestingly both the oldest and youngest bottlings were from Millburn Distillery. Many of the releases were from closed distilleries such as St Magdalene, Brora, Port Ellen, Glenlochy, Coleburn, Glenury Royal and Rosebank. Over the years the series has gained something of a legendary reputation and now some of the harder to obtain bottlings in the series regularly command four-figure prices at auction. From a drinker’s perspective, the series offers something of an unparalleled look into an important and historic era of whisky production from the late 1960s to the early 1980s when many production changes were coming into practice that altered the character of many of Scotland’s malt whiskies. The best examples from the Rare Malts series are usually from the closed distilleries - notably the cult Brora 1972 bottlings along with the 1978 Port Ellens, the 1979 19-year-old St Magdalene and the 1969 35-year-old Millburn. Although, the majority of bottlings were at the very least excellent and drinkers to this day are still discovering their delights.