Cask of single malt Scottish whisky sells for a record £16 million

Cask of single malt Scottish whisky sells for a record £16 million to Asian buyer – and tiny Scottish village gets a £1 million windfall from distiller

  • Ardbeg Cask No 3 was sold to a mystery collector for a world-record £16 million 
  • The cask will give the buyer 440 bottles of Ardbeg whisky over five years
  • The distillery gave the money to local causes on Islay to thank the community 
  • Thomas Moradpour, Ardbeg’s CEO, said the sale was a ‘source of pride’ to the isle

A distillery has donated £1 million to its local community after a record sale of an ultra-rare whisky cask to a mystery collector.

The single malt cask was sold at auction for £16 million in early July – smashing the previous world record of £1 million.  

Generations of workers at Ardbeg Distillery in Islay were thanked for their work in creating the 1975 cask of whisky.

The cask will be bottled over the course of five years, giving the buyer around 440 bottles of Ardbeg whisky – which cannot be replicated for a decade. 

The £16-million whisky cask was distilled in 1975 and cannot be recreated for another decade

Ardbeg whisky distillery sits on the coast of the island of Islay in the Hebrides 

Much of the whisky distilled at Ardbeg in the 1970s was sold on, with only a small amount set aside for single malt – making whisky from the time especially rare. 

To celebrate the sale, Ardbeg has donated £1 million to causes on the island of Islay.

Ardbeg CEO Thomas Moradpour said: ‘This sale is a source of pride for everyone in the Ardbeg community who has made our journey possible.

‘Just 25 years ago, Ardbeg was on the brink of extinction, but today it is one of the most sought-after whiskies in the world.

‘That is a reflection of generations of hard work: from those in the stillhouse who craft our smoky spirit, to the warehouse staff who care for our casks over decades, to teams around the world who build the reputation of our whiskies with fans, bartenders and collectors.

‘While such a rare whisky is out of reach for all but one of our fans, we put the same passion and care into every bottle of Ardbeg as went into this exclusive single malt in 1975 – from flagship Ardbeg Ten Years Old, to limited-edition releases.’

Dr Bill Lumsden, who will oversee the cask’s ongoing maturation, said: ‘Cask No 3 is an extraordinary taste of Ardbeg’s past.

‘Its aromas are nutty, herbal and smoky, while its tastes of tar, espresso coffee and spearmint have an astonishing finesse for a whisky of such age.

‘So little stock survives from this era, that this cask really is one of a kind.

‘And its complex flavours are testament to the extraordinary skill of the Ardbeg team who have cared for it over the decades. I look forward to exploring how it continues to evolve over the next five years.’

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