Diageo has unveiled the third collection of its Prima & Ultima series of single malt Scotch whiskies. Collection III features eight expressions, including bottles of Port Ellen and Brora from the 1980s as well as debut appearances from Royal Lochnagar and Mannochmore, and is priced at £36,500 ($46,000 USD).
The Prima & Ultima releases consist of bottlings drawn from casks that are the first or last of their kind. The first collection was launched in June 2020 and selected by iconic whisky maker Dr Jim Beveridge OBE. For the second edition, introduced in August 2021, master blender Maureen Robinson chose the whiskies.
Diageo master blender Dr Craig Wilson chose the eight bottles for the third Prima & Ultima edition. Wilson has played a major role in the restoration of the Brora spirit and oversees new releases from Port Ellen. He is also master blender for Lagavulin, Dufftown, and Mortlach.
The theme of the third edition is “A Moment in Time” and the natural preservation of fossils and specimens. Each single malt in the collection comes with an artifact to reflect the whisky’s story and is displayed within the accompanying set of 20ml samples provided with each full set.
Prima & Ultima Collection III whiskies:
- Royal Lochnagar – 1981 – Single Malt Whisky
- Cragganmore – 1973 – Single Malt Whisky
- Mannochmore – 1990 – Single Malt Whisky
- Brora – 1981 – Single Malt Whisky
- The Singleton of Glen Ord – 1987 – Single Malt Whisky
- Lagavulin – 1993 – Single Malt Whisky
- Talisker – 1984 – Single Malt Whisky
- Port Ellen – 1980 – Single Malt Whisky
“I have personally selected each whisky with great care, each an exceptional spirit marking a special time in the distilleries’ history and whiskies that I’ve had the privilege to watch mature,” said Wilson. “I have also selected whiskies from Brora and Port Ellen. In the year we celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, I have selected the last ever Port Ellen 1980 cask, filled in the year Her Majesty visited the distillery’s maltings. The Brora bottling is equally as precious, taken from our last ever 1981 cask, making it one of our rarest Brora whiskies of all time.”
The Port Ellen 1980 is the oldest ever to be released from the distillery, taken from two casks filled the year the Queen visited the maltings, and the last of 1980. They matured exclusively on Islay, overlaying the whisky with notes of brine and seaweed. The Brora 1981, meanwhile, is considered the rarest publicly available whisky from the distillery, and shows a more fragrant, less peated side to the classic style.
The last Talisker casks from 1984 bring another maritime note to the collection, while two exploratory whiskies – a Royal Lochnagar from 1981, the result of an experiment to capture the angels’ share, and a Mannochmore from 1990 exposed to an unusual maturation process – capture the spirit of innovation.
The oldest whisky in this year’s selection comes from the oldest casks of Cragganmore in the reserves, while a 28 year old Lagavulin 1993 celebrates the beginning of a golden era of awards for the celebrated Islay distillery.
The Singleton of Glen Ord finishes the line up with a dual claim to the Prima & Ultima title, being the first ever 1987 vintage release, taken from the last remaining casks of 1987.
Only 317 sets are available for purchase worldwide, priced at £36,500 ($46,000 USD).
For the first time, a selection of individual bottles are also available to purchase offering the opportunity for enthusiasts, connoisseurs and collectors to experience whiskies that will never be made again.
Those interested in purchasing a collection or a single bottling from it should head over to www.theprimaandultimacollection.com.
To coincide with the release of the third edition of the range, Diageo is offering two ultra-rare casks of Brora and Port Ellen during a Sotheby’s auction in London until June 14.