The Flora and Fauna collection was composed by the company United Distillers (now known as Diageo), in order to promote the products from their different lesser known distilleries to a wider audience. Being the owners of the most popular whisky in the world (Johnnie Walker), the great majority of the whisky distilled goes into blends. The idea with the Flora and Fauna series was to offer the public a chance to try the original single malt spirit, pre-blending.
When the series was first released, it had no actual name. The term “Flora and Fauna” was coined by famous whisky and spirits writer Michael Jackson. He came up with the name based on the images printed on the labels, as these images primarily displayed plants and animals. That name stuck, and is nowadays commonly used to describe the whiskies in the series.
The series originally started in 1991 and at the time contained 22 different whiskies bottled at 43% ABV.
Mid-Strength flora and fauna whiskies
When the mid-strength whiskies were originally released, most of them were packaged in wonderful wooden boxes. Later subsequent releases of the same bottles saw wood replaced with cardboard, and eventually, the bottles were sold without any boxes at all. Various releases exist, with grey, white and black caps.
- Aberfeldy 15 years old
- Aultmore 12 years old
- Balmenach 12 years old
- Benrinnes 15 years old
- Bladnoch 10 years old
- Blair Athol 12 years old
- Royal Brackla 10 years old
- Caol Ila 15 years old
- Clynelish 14 years old
- Craigellachie 14 years old
- Dailuaine 16 years old
- Dufftown 12 years old
- Glendullan 12 years old
- Glenlossie 10 years old
- Inchgower 14 years old
- Linkwood 12 years old
- Mortlach 16 years old
- Mannochmore 12 years old
- Pittyvaich 12 years old
- Rosebank 12 years old
- Teannich 10 years old
- Speyburn 12 years old
Cask Strength flora and fauna whiskies
In 1998, a further 9 whiskies were released, at cask strength. These whiskies were originally released with black caps, and came in gray boxes.
- Aberfeldy 17 years old (distilled 1980, bottled in 1997 at 62%)
- Aultmore 14 years old (distilled in 1983, bottled in 1997 at 58.8%)
- Blair Athol 116 years old (distilled in 1981, bottled in 1997 at 55.5%)
- Clynelish 15 years old (distilled in 1982, bottled in 1997 at 57.7%)
- Caol Ila 16 years old (distilled in 1981, bottled in 1997 at 63.8%)
- Dailuaine 16 years old (distilled in 1980, bottled in 1997 at 65%)
- Linkwood 14 years old (distilled in 1983, bottled in 1997 at 59.8%)
- Mortlach 17 years old (distilled in 1980, bottled in 1997 at 63.1%)
- Rosebank 16 years old (distilled in 1981, bottled in 1997 at 673.9%)
2001 flora and fauna releases
In 2001, a further 4 distilleries saw their whiskies added to the Flora and Fauna range. None of these ever came with a box.
Of all of the above, Speyburn was sold off by United Distillers shortly after the release of the whisky to the series, and thus there are a limited amount of bottles of that expression available, making it highly collectable.
A number of the flora and fauna distilleries no longer are owned by Diageo (the successor to United Distiller), because they closed (Pittyvaich, Rosebank). Others, like Glen Spey were sold off. Especially the cask strength and wooden box editions are becoming harder to find (and therefore more expensive).
On a personal note, the series has some delightful whiskies in it. Unfortunately, most of the older ones seem to suffer from the cork drying out, and thus breaking off when attempting to open it. So if you get your hands on some of the more rare ones, have a corkscrew ready, and prepare to fish out pieces of cork from your glass.