Ardbeg bottle sells for £35,000By Nicola Carruthers
A bottle of Ardbeg whisky from 1974 has sold for £35,000 (US$39,893) at auction, setting a record price for a single bottle from the Islay distillery.
On Monday (7 November), Whisky Auctioneer sold a bottle of Single Cask Ardbeg #2742, filled on 14 June 1974 and bottled on 20 September 2005.
It was one of 36 bottles from cask #2742, which were originally only available to hotel bars around the world, meaning many will have been opened and consumed.
The auctioneer said 1974 was a legendary vintage at Ardbeg as it contained the last batch of spirit to have been made using exclusively on-site peated malt. The use of external peated malt after this year resulted in a change in style for the brand, which makes these vintages rare, as they represent the final ‘old school’ Ardbegs.
The bottle attracted bids from countries including the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, with a collector from Switzerland securing the winning bid.
Joe Wilson, head curator and spirits specialist at Whisky Auctioneer, said: “As Whisky Auctioneer continues to grow, instances of auctioning a bottle for the first time have become rarer yet all the more special.
“We were hugely excited to be lucky enough to encounter this near-mythical single cask from Ardbeg, notable for its important vintage as well as its tiny 36-bottle yield.
“Ardbeg is a distillery with a somewhat tumultuous past, but since the turn of the century has deservedly become one of the world’s most desired whiskies, as evidenced by the high international interest in both this bottle and its incredible result.”
In July this year, a whisky collector bought a cask of Ardbeg distilled in 1975 for a record-breaking £16 million (US$19.3m).
The sale price surpassed any auction record for a cask of single malt, and was also the distillery’s oldest whisky release to date.