An unnamed collector just won a bid for a rare cask of Scotch during a record-breaking private sale, in what’s been described as a “remarkable piece of liquid history.”
Distilled and put into barrel in 1975 by Ardbeg, an Islay-based single malt producer, the “Cask No. 3” whisky sold to an Asia-based buyer for a whopping £16 million ($19 million), according to a press release. The fee reportedly marks the highest recorded sale price for a cask of single malt.
The record-breaking release was initially aged in two separate vessels before the whisky was combined into a sherry cask in 2014. Beyond its price, this cask from Ardbeg is particularly notable due to its extreme rarity; during the 1970s, the majority of the distillery’s spirits were blended with other whiskies and released to market, so very few Ardbeg whiskies of this maturity exist.
The company states that £1 million ($1.2 million) from this sale will be donated to charitable organizations on the Isle of Islay.
After the sale’s conclusion, Cask No. 3 will remain on Islay to continue to age over the next five years, under the supervision of director of distilling Dr. Bill Lumsden. The unnamed buyer will receive 88 bottles each year from their cask, totaling 440 individual, 700-milliliter bottles of liquor.
Through the distillery’s extensive history, Ardbeg survived two near-shutterings in the 1980s and mid-1990s. Lumsden says the Scotch whiskey’s longevity speaks to the attention and care given by the Ardbeg team.
“So little stock survives from this era, that this cask really is one of a kind. And its complex flavors are testament to the extraordinary skill of the Ardbeg team who have cared for it over the decades,” he said in the release. “I look forward to exploring how it continues to evolve over the next five years.”