DIAGEO ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF PRIMA & ULTIMA:
A NEW COLLECTABLE SERIES OF EXQUISITE SINGLE VINTAGE MALT WHISKIES
Only 238 full sets available to purchase through a global registration from 22nd July 2020
Prima & Ultima, the first and the last. This is the first set in a new series of collectable releases of magnificent, incredibly rare Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Each is the first and last of its kind; drawn from a tiny number of highly sought-after casks from celebrated distilleries including Lagavulin, Mortlach and The Singleton of Dufftown.
The eight single vintage malts chosen to open this inaugural series were personally selected by one of the world’s most respected whisky makers, Dr Jim Beveridge OBE. Dr Beveridge is one of Diageo’s most distinguished whisky blenders, widely known for his vast expertise and deeply respected among Scotland’ whisky masters. Dr Beveridge remarked ‘Over the past forty years I have worked intimately with our distilleries across Scotland and I’ve been fortunate enough to witness great change in the whisky industry. Each of the eight whiskies I’ve selected for Prima & Ultima tells a tale of heritage and craftsmanship and I’ve chosen them from distillers of great personal importance to me.’
For the enthusiast, Prima & Ultima is an opportunity to build a collection of rare and historic Scotch on the solid foundation of Dr Beveridge’s expertise – the first time he has curated such a series of single malts; for the collector and connoisseur, it is a gathering of exquisite vintage single malts into an unmissable anthology of spirited tales.
Every bottle in the inaugural Prima & Ultima series has a story to tell and is its own record of this significant period of whisky-making. Dr Beveridge marks the moment coal-firing of stills ended in 1971 at Cragganmore by including in the collection the last cask to be filled with whisky made this way at the distillery. The inclusion of three casks of The Singleton of Dufftown from 1988 marks a time when the grassy, fruit flavours were uncovered in The Singleton character from a new slow-craft technique. This complex, rich whisky is the first 30-year-old released of this kind. The existence of prized 1979 whisky from a silenced Port Ellen, stoically maturing for 40 years, also speaks to the end of an era – and is a nod to the spirit of invention that will return when the beloved distillery will open its doors once again.
During his career at Diageo, Dr Jim Beveridge spent considerable time at Lagavulin to learn how the true distillery character is refined and perfected. The vintage he selected from this distillery comes from a handful of refill American oak hogshead casks filled right around this time, in 1991. A 26-year-old Clynelish from 1993 represents a triumph of his inquiry into how this distillery character reveals its renowned waxiness. His taste for the exceptional also informs this collection: six standout casks of Talisker with a more rounded and gently peated style to the distillery’s smoky signature have been carefully safeguarded for a moment like this since 1988, the last of their kind. Meanwhile, a 1984 cask of Caol Ila, number #5773 to be specific, was the first of a new style, and this bottling tells the story of a decade-long chase for this cask’s recovery. The final addition to this inaugural number, a muscular 25-year-old Mortlach takes its place as one of the last remaining first-fill Pedro Ximenez seasoned oak butt casks from 1994.
There will be an opportunity to own the very first set of the series, one of just 238 full sets, when it goes under the hammer for charity at Sotheby’s online auction from 26th August – 2nd September 2020 in London. Bottle No 1 of each of the eight bottlings has been signed by Dr Jim Beveridge and all proceeds will be donated to Diageo’s charity partner WaterAid.
The inaugural release of The Prima & Ultima Collection will be available to purchase for £20,000 directly through appointed Prima & Ultima agents across the world. A global registration at http://www.exceptionalwhisky.com will open on Wednesday 22nd July 2020 for whisky collectors to register their interest. Each of the 238 full sets of cask strength bottlings is accompanied by a limited-edition book of personal stories from curator Dr. Jim Beveridge OBE and 20ml samples of each whisky.