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Ardbeg Whisky Cask Sale Sets New Record At £16m
Ardbeg Whisky Cask Sale Sets New Record At £16m
A new benchmark has been set for Scotch Whisky following the sale of Cask No. 3 by Ardbeg for £16m to a private investor.

Easily surpassing previous records, including the recently set auction record of £1.1m, the sale provides yet more evidence of Scotch Whisky’s success as an alternative asset class.

Cask No. 3

Cask No. 3 by Ardbeg contains a 46-year-old Single Malt, distilled back in November 1975. The new make spirit was initially placed inside two separate casks, maturing for 37 years inside an ex-bourbon and an oloroso Sherry cask.

During these years, the casks avoided being bottled or blended, surviving through the distillery closing twice in the eighties. Incredibly, the distillery and its stock were sold in 1997 to the current owner, The Glenmorangie Company, for less than half the value of this record sale.

In 2014, the director of Whisky Creation for Glenmorangie, Dr Bill Lumsden, decided to marry the two casks inside a first-fill Sherry Butt. Following a further eight years of maturation, Cask No. 3 will now gradually start to be bottled, allowing the rest of its contents to continue maturing.

This unusual bottling method will allow the new owner to receive 88 bottles per annum for the next five years, creating the ultimate vertical series of 46, 47, 48, 49 and 50-year-old Whisky.

With 440 bottles available from the cask, the current value of the bottles stands at a whopping £38,000 each.

The Whisky

Due to the low output and closures faced in the past, Cask No. 3 contains some of the rarest Whisky still in existence from the renowned Ardbeg distillery. It is a rare example of Whisky produced in a period when the Ardbeg still malted its own barley, a process that, like many other distilleries, is now outsourced.

 “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.” – Dr Bill Lumsden

The Wider Impact

The sale of Cask No. 3 has not only set new records but also reaffirmed Whisky’s position in the investment marketplace. In the last three years alone, Scotch Whisky has continuously made the headlines, with new records from wise investments made in previous years.

In 2021, Rodger Parfitt sold his pair of Macallan and Tobermory casks to Whisky Investment Partners for an incredible 4600% return. Just a year later, another Macallan cask which it’s owner had incredibly forgotten sold for £1.1 million at auction.

Following the sale, Ardbeg has committed to donating £1m of the proceeds to help local causes within the Islay community over the next five years.

Thomas Moradpour, CEO of The Glenmorangie Company, 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.”

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