Every bottle of whisky tells a story: whether it’s the craft of artisans decades past; or the changing characteristics of a distillery. Now, Diageo has released a single malt Scotch collection documenting vintage bottles that tell of momentous occasions of the developments in a particular distillery. Named Prima & Ultima, the cask-strength collection features eight expressions, each marking a point where their distilleries started or ended a particular process.
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The collection has been curated by Dr Jim Beveridge, master blender for Johnnie Walker — the sixth in the brand’s 200-year history — and one of the Scotch world’s most prolific figures. Says Beveridge, ‘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.’
Included in the set is liquid from the very last cask of Cragganmore produced with coal-fired stills – a practice that ended in 1971 – as well as a 26-year-old Clynelish from 1993, one of the first casks filled after the Highland distillery understood and perfected the “mysterious waxiness of Clynelish” – a quality much appreciated by fans of the distillery.
For those whose tastes lean bold, there is also a 25-year-old from Dufftown distillery Mortlach. This particular expression is one of the last of the casks of whisky aged in first-fill Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso seasoned oak butt casks, giving the spirit its robust characteristics. There’s also a 40-year-old whisky from legendary (and slated to re-open) distillery Port Ellen in all its saline, peaty, sweet glory.
Each of the 239 sets comes with its own limited-edition book featuring personal stories from Dr. Beveridge, and a 20ml sample of each whisky so collectors taste their collection while all eight bottles can sit untouched in the cellar.
Queries at PrivateClientSG@Diageo.com