Diageo Unveils 2022's Ultra-Rare Prima & Ultima Collection
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Diageo Unveils 3rd Edition of Prima & Ultima, a Series of Incredibly Expensive Whiskies for Fans of the Ultra Rare

Global spirits giant Diageo has opened registration for the third release of Prima & Ultima, a series of collections of single malt scotch whiskies drawn from casks that are the first or last of their kind.

Only 317 full sets of the Prima & Ultima collection are available for purchase, directly through Prima & Ultima agents. The collection is priced at £36,500 (US$45,715), including tax and duty, in the UK. Those who wish to register their interest may do so here.

2022 Prima & Ultima Series Tasting Notes, via Diageo

Royal Lochnagar 1981 40 Year Old (52.5% ABV)

Appearance: Deep, clear gold. No beading, slow legs.

Nose: Very mild and mellow, with no prickle. Fragrant notes of scented candle wax dance with smoke moorland flowers.

Body: Medium.

Taste: Appealingly smooth, mouth- filling and waxy in texture. Immediately sweet, spicy and smoky to taste, and sweet overall, with light balancing salt mid-palate.

Finish: Long, smooth and faintly waxy, with sweet warmth and light smoke that both linger in the tingling aftertaste.

Cragganmore 1973 48 Year Old (44.8% ABV)

Appearance: Clear rich amber, polished mahogany. No beading. Long legs.

Nose: A very mellow nose with just a little prickle to start, which soon disappears. In the rich top notes the immediate impression is almost sherry-like, soon becoming sweeter, with almond oil or almond cake. Also lightly fruity, with tropical fruits; papaya, ripe mango, plantain banana, and apricot. Finally, there are some fragrant floral notes, the base reminiscent of a sandalwood cigar wrapper.

Body: Medium to full.

Taste: A creamy, even lightly oily texture and a sweet taste, which soon becomes pleasantly tart, with a hint of caramelised orange, then oaky-dry with light tannins.

Finish: Quite long, with a gentle, spicy warmth, and finishing dry, with vanilla fudge lingering in the long aftertaste.

Mannochmore 1990 31 Year Old (45.1% ABV)

Appearance: Rich rosewood with ruby lights.

Nose: A gentle and almost enigmatic nose, dry overall, which initially gives little away. After a while a suggestion of polished leather emerges, perhaps edging towards scented wax furniture polish, on a base of hard toffee, with vanilla notes.

Body: Medium.

Taste: Lean and smooth in texture, while the powerfully bittersweet taste is immediately striking. The powerful taste of striking dark orange marmalade is cut with drying wood spice before spiralling into endless layers of deep bitterness.

Finish: Medium to long, lightly spicy and very drying, with a bitter-sweet nutty-spicy aftertaste.

Brora 1981 40 Year Old (44.1% ABV)

Appearance: Deep, clear gold. No beading, slow legs.

Nose: Very mild and mellow, with no prickle. Fragrant notes of scented candle wax dance with smoke moorland flowers.

Body: Medium.

Taste: Appealingly smooth, mouth- filling and waxy in texture. Immediately sweet, spicy and smoky to taste, and sweet overall, with light balancing salt mid-palate.

Finish: Long, smooth and faintly waxy, with sweet warmth and light smoke that both linger in the tingling aftertaste.

The Singleton of Glen Ord 1987 34 Year Old (49.4% ABV)

Appearance: Bright, clear gold with green lights. Good, heavy beading.

Nose: A mellow and fragrant nose overall. Briefly suggesting fresh-hewn wood, the sweet top notes are both fruity and floral; a fresh fruit salad with juicy peaches, eaten among freesias and roses. They are backed by more fragant notes of scented cream on a base of freshly laundered linen, with a hint of sandalwood.

Body: Medium.

Taste: This is a lovely and elegant liquid with a fragrant nose and a creamy-smooth texture, its sweetly satisfying taste perfected by many years in cask. The sweetly satisfying taste holds deep fruity flavours with hints of ginger.

Finish: Of medium length and elegantly drying, with a lovely sweet white pepper warmth and a lingering fragrant aftertaste.

Lagavulin 1993 28 Year Old (50.1% ABV)

Appearance: Deep amber with ruby lights. Shiny chestnut. Very good beading and legs.

Nose: A mellow nose in feel, with light prickle. Redcurrant fruitiness is soon overcome by maritime scents of sea-salt and sweet seaweed on a base of woodsmoke.

Body: Medium to full.

Taste: Lightly oily and smooth in texture. An immediately sweet and lightly spicy start with winey fruit, a balancing pinch of salt and soon, appreciable pepper and smoke flooding through. Rich in style, with drying oak tannins and lightly drying later.

Finish: Long, with a deep peppery smokiness: slightly mouth-cooling, with more smoke in the peaty aftertaste.

Talisker 1984 37 Year Old (51.9% ABV)

Appearance: Bright gold, polished brass. Exceptional large beading.

Nose: Immediate mineral and lightly smoky with hints of chalk and salt, joined by notes of fine sand and seaweed drying on a hot day.

Body: Medium to full.

Taste: A deliciously light oil-smooth texture introduces a sweet and richly malty start, soon balanced by a dash of salt mid-palate and surging waves of smoky pepper. Drying towards the finish.

Finish: Long, with a peppery warmth and a fine gentle chili pepper ‘catch’, leaving a peppery heat on the tongue.

Port Ellen 1980 41 Year Old (59.6% ABV)

Appearance: Bright, clear 9ct gold. Good beading, copious legs.

Nose: A fresh nose, with some prickle closing the aroma initially; lightly drying. The initial impression is lightly medicinal, becoming more maritime as it opens with hints of brine, sea-breeze, dry seaweed or boat varnish. Lightly smoky, with hints of spun honey.

Body: Medium to full.

Taste: Rich, smooth and lightly oily in texture. Starts sweet, quickly seasoned with a shake of salt and pepper.

Finish: A long, gently warming and very lightly peaty finish, slightly mouth-cooling, with smoke lingering in the aftertaste.

Diageo introduced the Prima & Ultima range in 2020 with a set of single malts selected by whisky maker Dr. Jim Beveridge. Last year, master blender Maureen Robinson was chosen to curate the whiskies for the second edition.

This year’s series comprises eight bottlings chosen by Dr. Craig Wilson, who was integral in the restoration of Brora and oversees releases from Port Ellen. It is because of Wilson’s background that the third edition of the series includes a bottling each from Brora and Port Ellen — a first for the series.

“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,” Wilson said, according to The Spirits Business. “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.”

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