Diageo will be officially launching the first release of the new Diageo Prima & Ultima collection of eight rare vintage single malts on Wednesday 22 July 2020; keen whisky lovers to register their interest for the limited edition sets.

If you’re a fan of vintage collectible whiskies – especially from the Diageo’s stable – you’re going to want to mark this date down – Wednesday 22 July 2020. That’s when Diageo will be opening online registration to bid for the Diageo Prima & Ultima, the first release in the series with a set of eight rare single malt Scotch whiskies that represent the first and last of its kind, each drawn from a small and diminishing number of highly sought-after casks from iconic distilleries including Lagavulin, Mortlach, Caol Ila, and Clynelish.

The eight vintage single malts that comprise the Diageo Prima & Ultima Collection have been personally chosen by Diageo’s celebrated master blender Dr Jim Beveridge OBE, who is best known for his work on Johnnie Walker. But what’s so special about them?

“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”, shared Dr Jim Beveridge. “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.”

Diageo Prima & Ultima book

Specifically, each of them tell a specific “first” or “last” story about the distillery. For example, the Cragganmore 1971 sees a 48 year bottling from the very last cask produced using spirit from coal-fired stills before the distillery switched to oil-fired steam heating. Then there’s the Talisker 1988, which is a 31YO bottling from a vatting of the last six casks from a batch set aside that year which showed an unusually less peaty character. On the other hand, the Clynelish 1993 is a 26YO whisky pulled from the first small batch release when the distillery first understood and perfected Clynelish’s signature characteristic waxiness that its fans have come to appreciate and love.

The limited edition Diageo Prima & Ultima collection are sold as a full set, complete with a limited-edition book detailing Dr Jim’s thoughts on his selection of those whiskies. as well as 20ml whisky samples so you don’t have to crack open each bottle to try if you don’t want to. There are only 238 full sets that are made available globally at the recommended retail selling price of £20,000 (S$33,000), with the first set to be auctioned off by Sotheby’s to raise funds for Diageo’s charity partner WaterAid.

As for the rest, a global registration at www.exceptionalwhisky.com will open on Wednesday 22nd July 2020 for whisky collectors to register their interest. Further queries can be directed via email to PrivateClientSG@Diageo.com.

Diageo Prima & Ultima book and samples

The first release of the Diageo Prima & Ultima comprise of the following whiskies:

  • Caol Ila 1984

35-Year-Old | 50.8% ABV

Bottled: 9.12.19 | Cask #5773 – Refill European Oak Butt

Number Bottled: 499 | Port Askaig, Isle Of Islay

A 1984 Caol Ila from a single refill cask (#5773) – the first release of a new style at the time, this particular cask was recovered after initially being sold. Mild in aroma, it is rich in texture with a long smoky-spice finish.

  • Clynelish 1993

26-Year-Old | 49.8% ABV

One of the first casks filled after the mysterious waxiness of Clynelish was understood and perfected. This 1993 small batch release is aromatic and intense, with a waxy, creamy smooth quality that is now the distillery’s hallmark.

  • Cragganmore 1971

48-Year-Old | 43.7% ABV

This is the very last cask of whisky which was made at Cragganmore on coal fired stills – cask #2301 – before the switch to oil-fired steam heating. A remarkable piece of history from a single first fill ex- Sherry butt, the whisky’s flavours run deep with hints of dark chocolate, it has a long fresh and drying finish.

  • Lagavulin 1991

28-Year-Old | 50.1% ABV

Distilled not long after Lagavulin’s true distillery character was refined and perfected, this whisky comes from a handful of refill American oak hogshead casks filled in 1991. This 28-year-old is the first to highlight the pure golden Lagavulin spirit, thanks to carefully managed cask influence, and has a terrific depth of flavour.

  • Mortlach 1994

25-Year-Old | 55.1% ABV

Bottled: 9.12.19 | Refill American Oak Casks Number Bottled: 941 | Brora, Sutherland
Bottled: 10.12.19 | Cask #2301 – First-fill ex-sherry butt Number Bottled: 352 | Ballindalloch, Speyside
Bottled: 10.12.19 | Refill American Oak Casks Number Bottled: 1013 | Port Ellen, Isle Of Islay
Bottled: 10.12.19 | Cask #2652 – First-fill Pedro Ximenez/Oloroso seasoned European Oak Butt Number Bottled: 389 | Dufftown, Speyside

One of the last remaining first-fill Pedro Ximenez / Oloroso seasoned oak butt casks from 1994. The result is a 25-year-old with robust muscularity – the deep, rich style of mature Mortlach that earned its name as ‘The Beast of Dufftown’, by whisky expert Dave Broom

  • Port Ellen 1979

40-Year-Old | 51.2% ABV

One of the very last 1979 European Oak butts from Port Ellen, selected from the few casks remaining, long after the Islay distillery closed in 1983. It characterises Port Ellen at its peak – expressing to the full the wonderful balance between sweetness, saltiness and smokiness that is elegant and full of flavour after forty years.

  • Singleton of Dufftown 1988

30-Year-Old | 48.8% ABV

From three of the last remaining casks filled in 1988, at a time when the new grassy, fruity flavours were uncovered from a new slow-craft technique at this Singleton distillery. This complex, rich whisky is the first 30-year-old released of this kind.

  • Talisker 1988

31-Year-Old | 51.4% ABV

A 31-year-old Talisker from the last 6 casks that showed an unusual less peaty, more rounded character, specially put aside in 1988 to mature. A Talisker full of vitality with sweet, smoky and peppery flavours.

All of the single malt Scotch whiskies included are natural cask strength, non-chill filtered, with no colour added.

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