Islay whisky producer Lagavulin has marked its bicentennial with the release of a 1991 single malt priced at £1,494 a bottle, the proceeds of which will benefit charities on the island.
Just 522 bottles of the 24-year-old expression, which have been released to celebrate the distillery’s 200th anniversary, have been produced, with the cask used selected by the distillery team and Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes.
The bottles have been priced at £1,494 to reflect the date of the earliest documented record of distilling in Scotland in 1494, found within the tax records of the day – the Exchequer Rolls.
Proceeds from the sale, which are expected to exceed £500,000, will be divided between seven Islay charities.
The largest donation of £310,000 will be made to Islay Heritage, and will fund research at Dunyvaig Castle, the creation of an Islay Heritage trail, and conservation work focusing on Kildalton chapel and education.
The remaining six charities will receive between £10,000 and £60,000 each, and include the McTaggart Cyber Café, Islay & Jura Community Enterprises Ltd, McTaggart Leisure Centre, the Finlaggan Trust, Islay Arts, Islay Festival Association, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
“We will all be raising a dram to years gone by and an exciting future ahead of us and this incredible island, as we close a year of spectacular celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the distillery,” said Georgette Crawford, distillery manager at Lagavulin.
“This whisky is truly memorable in its complexity and unique in the way our distinctive distillery’s character shines through. The range and ambition of the projects we are supporting is something that as an Ileach I feel very deeply about and I am so proud to see the proceeds of our iconic whisky benefit the local community in such an unforgettable way.”
Bottles can only be purchased via a special ballot on The Whisky Exchange, which will be drawn on 12 February at random.
Bottle No. 1 will be auctioned separately, with one bottle each donated to the Diageo Archive and The Whisky Exchange.