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Prima & Ultima: The first and last bottlings of exquisite single malts

Justerini & Brooks presents Prima & Ultima

The ultimate whisky library, Prima & Ultima is the first in a new series of collectable releases of eight magnificent, incredibly rare single vintage malts. Each is the first and last of its kind, drawn from a tiny number of highly sought-after casks with their own story to tell.

Curated by Dr Jim Beveridge OBE, the whiskies that make up Prima & Ultima represent eight distinct pivots in the recent history of Scotch. Every bottle in the Prima & Ultima collection recounts its own record of this significant period of whisky-making. Telling a tale of heritage and craftsmanship and marking moments in time that make these precious drops, firsts and lasts of their kind.

There will be just 238 full sets of Prima & Ultima available globally. For the enthusiast, it’s the opportunity to build a collection of rare and historic Scotch on the solid foundation of Beveridge’s expertise – the first time he has curated such a series; for the collector and connoisseur, it’s a gathering of exquisite, one-time-only single vintage malts into an unmissable anthology of spirited tales.

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Malts that Mark a Moment in Time

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Amongst connoisseurs, the most highly prized kind of whisky is one of outstanding quality, with a distinct character that speaks of its authentic provenance - a moment in time. The Prima & Ultima series gives all collectors the opportunity to build an exquisite liquid library of exactly these kinds of single malt Scotch whiskies. The eight cask strength bottles have been drawn from stocks of celebrated distilleries across Scotland including: Caol Ila, Clynelish, Cragganmore, Lagavulin, Mortlach, Port Ellen, The Singleton and Talisker.

“This collection represents a lifetime’s work, creating whiskies that appeal to all the senses. The whiskies here are incredibly rare; the first and last expressions of their kind. They are my ultimate single malts.” - Jim Beveridge OBE, Master Distiller

Beveridge marks the ending of the coal-firing of stills in 1971 at Cragganmore by including the last cask to be filled with whisky made this way at the distillery. The three casks of The Singleton of Dufftown from 1988 mark the year when the grassy, fruity flavours were uncovered in The Singleton character from a new slow-craft technique. This complex, rich whisky is the first 30-year-old release of this kind. The existence of prized 1979 whisky from a silenced Port Ellen, stoically maturing for 40 years, also speaks to the end of an era –and is a nod to the spirit of invention that will return when the beloved distillery will open its doors once again. From time spent at Lagavulin, Beveridge understood what gave the Islay malt its purest expression, captured here for the first time in a 28 year old filled in 1991; and from Scotland’s North East coastline, a 26 year old Clynelish from 1993 represents a triumph of how this distillery character reveals its renowned waxiness. A taste for the exceptional also informs this collection: six standout casks of Talisker with a more rounded and gently peated style to the distillery’s smoky signature have been carefully safeguarded for a moment like this since 1988, the last of their kind. Meanwhile, a 1984 cask of Caol Ila, number #5773 to be specific, was the first of a new style, and this bottling tells the story of a decade-long chase for this cask’s recovery. The final addition to this inaugural number, a muscular 25-year-old Mortlach takes its place as one of the last remaining first-fill Pedro Ximenez seasoned oak butt casks from 1994.

Prima & Ultima

Caol Ila, 1984, 35 Year Old, 50.8%
Clynelish, 1993, 26 Year Old, 49.8%
Cragganmore, 1971, 48 Year Old, 43.7%
Lagavulin, 1991, 28 Year Old, 50.1%
Mortlach, 1994, 25 Year Old, 55.1%
Port Ellen, 1979, 40 Year Old, 51.2%
Singleton of Dufftown, 1988, 30 Year Old, 48.8%
Talisker, 1988, 31 Year Old, 51.4%

Registration is now closed for Prima & Ultima, if you are interested in receiving further information on rare and collectable whiskies from Justerini & Brooks, you can do so using the link below:

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Prima & Ultima: A Liquid Library

“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 distilleries of great personal importance to me.” Dr Jim Beveridge, OBE.

Here is a Talisker that allows all of this giant’s roaring contrasts to shine. A Clynelish made when we had just understood a waxy secret. Our very last cask from the coal-fired stills of Cragganmore. From time to time, others will follow. Whether from an experiment, a last cask, or a lost style, each will be unique. Together, they will constitute the first and last word in whisky collections. Prima & Ultima. Discover the full stories and tasting notes of the first release of Prima & Ultima, below:

 

 
Caol Ila, 1984, 35 Year Old, 50.8%
A whisky recovered. Distilled in 1984, this 35 year old Caol Ila, has been drawn from one single cask, number 5773. A single refill butt, filled on November 27th 1984. Usually, Caol Ila is enjoyed when young with mature casks from this time becoming vanishingly rare. Against all odds Cask #5773 was recovered and put aside for thirteen years until perfection matched rarity... This precious liquid represents a new style of Caol Ila introduced in the ‘80s, whose flavours sing in even greater harmony. The colour of bright polished brass, this Caol Ila 35-year-old has a delicate aroma, mild with buttery sponge-cake, with a suggestion of baked pears, light, briny beach notes and a very faint hint of antiseptic cream in the base. The taste is rich and textured; big, bold and smoky in taste. A rich, fruity sweetness and salty savouriness combine to suggest sweet-glazed meat roasting on the barbecue.
 
Clynelish, 1993, 26 Year Old, 49.8%
The search for the secret. Distilled in 1993 at 26 years old, this natural cask strength Clynelish has been drawn from refill American oak casks. Clynelish has a much-prized waxy quality that long defied understanding. Various theories on the source of the waxy smoothness emerged with some believing it was brought out by the water from the Clynemilton Burn, which was used for distilling. Finally, not long before these casks were filled, it was discovered that the secret lay in the way the stills were run, which affected how the feints and low wines gathered. Those fortunate enough to enjoy this rare Clynelish will be able to appreciate the full depth of delightful waxy character in this sublime small release.

A Deep 18 carat gold colour, with a mellow, at first buttery top note which leads into the fruitiness of fresh apples and pears, with light tropical fruit notes of banana and papaya. Below this is a dry scent, and there is a faintly waxy note at the base. The taste is a pleasing, creamy-smooth texture and a sweet fruits that quickly develop into a spicy intensity. The finish is sweet and spicy with a charming hint of honeycomb.
 
Cragganmore, 1971, 48 Year Old, 43.7%
The last of the coal fired stills. Distilled in 1971 at the age of 48, this natural cask strength Cragganmore has been drawn from one prized cask, number 2301. From the very last cask made on coal-fired stills before the switch to oil-fired steam heating in 1972, this Cragganmore is a remarkable piece of history. A single first fill ex-Sherry butt, and a bottling that can never be repeated. The flavours provide a glorious reminder of rich ‘old school’ whiskies from another age and run unforgettably deep. Very dark magenta and rich mahogany in colour. The aromas are mild yet hugely complex, with treacle toffee, prunes in syrup, dark raisins, old-fashioned cold remedies, dark chocolate, espresso coffee and later a suggestion of eucalyptus oil. The taste is thick and oily in texture, rich, sweet and complex with tarred ropes, hessian sacks, dark chocolate, wine-soaked fruit then a controlled, wood-spiced and peppery mid-palate. The finish is long fresh and drying, with a lingering hint of leather-bound books.
 
Lagavulin, 1991, 28 Year Old, 50.1%
The purest expression. Distilled in 1991 at the age of 28, this natural cask strength Lagavulin has been drawn from American refill oak casks. This is an exceptional deep gold Lagavulin. Distilled not long after great strides had been made towards capturing more of the pure distillery character of this majestic malt. Preserving that pure Lagavulin spirit with minimal cask influence. The carefully selected American Oak hogsheads have cocooned the whiskies for generations. The oldest bottling ever to mark that achievement, this small release comes from a mere handful of remaining casks of their kind filled in 1991. It shows the pure distillery character to perfection and has a terrific depth of flavour. Deep gold in colour with pale amber lights. The aroma is Linseed oil, muscle rub and a suggestion of fresh linen, then a hint of putty, based on a distant wisp of bergamot-scented smoke. The taste is smoothly oily and rich in texture, with a beautifully balanced sweet, then salty and smoky taste, in which a drying, spicy warmth builds. The finish has a medium length, with more scented smoke, and very spicy.
 
Mortlach, 1994, 25 Year Old, 55.1%
The amazing conundrum. Distilled in 1994 at 25 years old, this natural cask strength whisky has been drawn from one very special cask, number 2652. This unrepeatably rare opportunity to enjoy the style of mature Mortlach that made it famous as “The Beast of Dufftown” comes from one of our very last 1994 first-fill Pedro Ximenez/Oloroso seasoned European Oak butts. The result is truly deep and rich in flavour, with an almost meaty, robust muscularity. The colour is deep amber, with crimson lights. The aromas are tightly integrated, with a yeasty, nutty, vinous note bringing to mind mincemeat pies, fig jam and fruit squares; dusty, with a suggestion of charred wood in the base and perhaps a hint of treacle toffee. The taste is soft and richly textured, intense and sweet then drying in taste with a gentle yet insistent spiciness and a really meaty feel. The finish is long and very gently drying, with rich sweetness and a smoky note.
 
Port Ellen, 1979, 40 Year Old, 51.2%
A hidden treasure. Distilled in 1979, at 40 years old this natural cask strength Port Ellen has been drawn entirely from one cask, number 6422. The Port Ellen distillery closed in 1983, yet its single malt was later revealed to age wonderfully; this superb example is subtle, elegant and flavourful after forty years. From one of the very last 1979 European Oak butts, this Port Ellen expresses, to the full, the wonderful balance between sweetness, saltiness and smokiness that characterises Port Ellen. At its peak Port Ellen continues to bring the whisky world one of its great joys. 18 carat gold in colour, with aromas that are mild and lightly medicinal, with top notes of antiseptic cream and liquid, followed by eucalyptus, with a light ashy smokiness tucked away at the base. The taste is soft and smooth in texture, sweet, with more than a trace of dry, appetising saltiness and a building black pepper spiciness. Beautifully made, delicious and best enjoyed straight. The finish is long, drying and elegantly smoky, with a peppery heat and lingering smoke in the cooling aftertaste.
 
Singleton of Dufftown, 1988, 30 Year Old, 48.8%
Moments of discovery. Distilled in 1988 this 30 year old Singleton is drawn from refill American oak casks. Complex and layered, a unique single malt and the last survivor from a handful of the best casks filled at Dufftown distillery in 1988. After a moment of rich discovery when Singleton uncovered vital new flavours in its whisky. By giving the yeast more time to work its magic on the wash before distilling they managed to slowly unfurl grassy, fruity flavours never truly experienced before. This historic expression shares the excitement of that discovery. This first and last release comes from the three best among the last few 1988 casks. The colour is bright, clear gold with mellow and at first vinous, aromas. A suggestion of apple tart or sharply fruity elderflower and redcurrant on short-crust pastry and Virginia tobacco, on a base rich in woody aromas. The taste is slim and smooth in texture, yet sweet and lightly fruity with considerable, growing spicy intensity, which comes to dominate. The finish is long, spicy and warming, then lightly drying. Leaves the palate tingling.
 
Talisker, 1988, 31 Year Old, 51.4%
In 1988 a small group of Talisker casks showed a less peaty, more rounded character when nosing the new make spirit. Remembering how special they were, the last six were reserved for this unique one in a thousand cask release. The more subtle flavours we found then are now superbly integrated; sweet yet peppery, fruity yet salty. With every nuance in perfect harmony, this extra-mature expression is rich in roaring contrasts. It is a stunning Talisker, full of vitality and with all its sweet, smoky, peppery tastes bound tightly together to make a truly beguiling and perfectly integrated whole; the very essence of mature genius. Full gold, with amber lights. The aroma is maritime overall and coy; perhaps a trace of smooth honey, underscored by a rich red fruit tartness. A drop of water introduces vanilla toffee and sweet dried seaweed, retaining the maritime scent, with a wisp of wood-accented smoke. The taste is richly textured with a smooth, oily mouthfeel, intense and lightly sweet, with a light saltiness, a hint of cigar-box smoke mid palate and a soft hit of chilli pepper at the close. The finish is long and gently drying, with honeyed sweetness alongside the smokiness and light spice.

Prima & Ultima: The first and last bottling of exquisite and elusive single malts

The eight single vintage malts chosen to open the inaugural set of Prima & Ultima were personally selected by one of the world’s most respected whisky makers, Dr Jim Beveridge OBE. As a scientist and master blender for Johnnie Walker, he has enjoyed unparalleled access to Diageo’s extensive whisky portfolio. Over the last 40 years he has worked closely with distilleries in all four major regions of Scotland –Highlands, Islands, Speyside and Lowlands. In spending decades alongside the craftsmen who make these singular spirits, he has helped them produce what have become the secrets behind the unique character of each remarkable single malt.

About the Prima and Ultima Distilleries

Caol Ila

Like sea air and peat fires, the distinctive Islay smokiness of Caol Ila, make it a reference point for connoisseurs of Islay Single Malt Scotch whisky the world over.

Clynelish

A name with a long history, one that predates the distillery we know today, and has adorned the labels of whisky bottles for more than two hundred years.

Cragganmore

Known for having the most complex aromas on Speyside, Cragganmore is also one of the most popular, a distillery that can’t keep up with demand.

Lagavulin

Not for nothing Lagavulin is regarded as the definitive Islay malt, and for many, the definitive Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Mortlach

A 190-year secret amongst whisky epicureans, Mortlach has been nicknamed 'The Beast of Dufftown' for its robust, muscular and rich character.

Port Ellen

Port Ellen was established as a malt mill on Islay’s famous south coast in 1825. One of the most collectable ghost whiskies, with remarkable ageing potential.

The Singleton

Rounded, rich and sweet, The Singleton is often described as possessing an exceptional smoothness with a quality and spectrum of enjoyable flavours.

Talisker

Talisker is the only Single Malt Scotch whisky made by the sea on the shores of the Isle of Skye, one of the most remote, rugged, yet beautiful landscapes in Scotland.

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Terms & Conditions

Delivery of rare and collectable whisky from Justerini & Brooks is currently available to 29 countries.
The price of Prima & Ultima, inclusive of UK VAT and Duty is £20,000 (8x70cl), the final price will be subject to local taxes and duties as they apply to the shipping destination and this will be at the collectors’ responsibility. Registration will open on the 22nd of July and close on the 25th of August.
All required fields must be completed and submitted to confirm your entry.
All entries will receive a confirmation email.
Justerini & Brooks will only use your personal data for the purpose of carrying out this promotion and for no other purpose, unless Justerini & Brooks obtains your consent. The personal details will at all times be kept confidential and in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
By registering for Prima and Ultima you are not making a purchase and there is no obligation to buy, even if you are successful.
Allocations will remain at the sole and absolute discretion of Justerini & Brooks.
We aim to notify all successful entrants by email no later than the end of September 2020.
If you have any questions, please email Marketing@justerinis.com.