This Set of Single Malt Scotches Will Set You Back $25,000
July 7, 2020 –––––– Susannah Skiver Barton
Drinks conglomerate Diageo owns nearly a quarter of Scotland's distilleries and has some of the world's richest stocks of whisky. The annual Special Releases give a glimpse of the company's breadth and diversity of offerings, with bottlings like Carsebridge 48 year old—a venerable grain whisky matured well past the normal range—and Pittyvaich 29 year old, from a closed distillery, earning high scores in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide.Older Special Release bottlings, especially of Brora and Port Ellen, fetch high prices at auction, and even the newer releases are regarded as collectible. But high-spending collectors now have something more dear to reach for: a new set of whiskies called Prima & Ultima. “The first and the last” of their kind, these bottles represent significant casks or moments in a distillery's history. The collection includes offerings from Port Ellen, Talisker, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, and several other distilleries. The whiskies were chosen by master blender Jim Beveridge, the first time he has overseen single malt selections. All the whiskies are bottled at cask strength without chill filtration or added color.Just 238 full sets of the Prima & Ultima First Release will be available via lottery for £20,000 (about $25,000), with registration starting on July 22 at exceptionalwhisky.com; a set will also go up at auction at Sotheby's from August 27 to September 2, with all the proceeds going to WaterAid. Some bottlings will be available to purchase individually, offered first to collectors who aren't selected to buy a full set; Diageo will release information about a la carte pricing at a later date. Each full set includes a book of personal stories from Beveridge, as well as a 20 ml. bottle of the whisky (so you can taste it without cracking open the full-size one). Diageo plans to release more Prima & Ultima whiskies in the future.Full details on the Prima & Ultima Collection First Release are below.