A distillery has donated £1 million to the local community for their “patience” after the world record sale of a “vanishingly rare” single malt cask to a mystery collector.
Generations of distillery workers at Ardbeg Islay were recognised for their work in creating the 1975 cask of whisky which was sold at auction for £16 million – smashing the previous record of £1 million.
Much of the Scotch distilled at the distillery in the 1970s was sold on to be blended with only a small amount set aside for single malt, making whisky from the era difficult to come by.
The cask will be bottled over the course of five years giving the collector a haul of aged Ardbegs which cannot be replicated for a decade.
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.”