MYSTERY surrounds the identity of a female whisky lover who has spent £16million on just one cask of 47-year-old single malt at auction.
The world record tipple, known as Cask No. 3, was produced in 1975 by Scotland’s Ardbeg distillery on the isle of Islay.
The previous most expensive cask was a relatively cheap £1million, set just months earlier for a 1988 Macallan.
The Ardbeg keg, snapped up by a woman in Asia, is expected to yield 440 bottles, with the buyer getting 88 annually for five years rather than all at once.
The hammer price means each bottle is worth £36,360
The collector is said to be a huge Scotch fan after visiting the Highlands and “falling in love with the country”.
One connoisseur commented online on the sale: “Scotland is a wonderful place, and the whisky is the best in the world, but £16million for one keg is unbelievable.
“They must have really loved Islay when they came to visit, and then again who wouldn’t fall in love with the place.”
The whisky is described as having “a smoky taste with notes of dried fruits and sun-faded potpourri, along with a nutty finish”.
Whisky writer and expert Charles MacLean described the £16million cask as “a remarkable piece of liquid history”.
He added: “The factors which make a particular whisky investable are threefold: rarity, flavour and variety.
“And collectors do love Scotch, because of the provenance and history.”
The final price includes costs such as storage, insurance, bottling, labelling, distillery visits and taxes.
It was more than double the amount which Ardbeg’s owner paid for the distillery and all of its stock in 1997.