Ardbeg ballot open

Ardbeg ballot open

The ballot is now open to celebrate the 20th anniversary, leading global retailer of fine whiskies and spirits, The Whisky Exchange, is now offering one exceptionally rare bottle of Ardbeg single malt Scotch whisky, worth £7,500, for just £99 – its original selling price when released exclusively at the distillery on Islay in 1999.

News | 17 Sep 2019

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Illustrating the meteoric rise in the value of rare and collectable whisky, this is a unique opportunity for one whisky lover to purchase a rare bottle released 20 years ago, to much acclaim at the time, for a fraction of its current value. The bottle will be sold via ballot on The Whisky Exchange website in September. Members of the public can now register their interest at and are able to enter the ballot until Sunday 22 September.

The Ardbeg Manager's Choice bottling was drawn from single sherry cask of 1976 vintage whisky. It was selected by then distillery manager Stuart Thomson for sale at the distillery in 1999, the same year that The Whisky Exchange started life as an online retailer. An enormous hit at the time, this was one of the key early single cask bottlings that kickstarted Ardbeg's stratospheric rise.

Sukhinder Singh, co-founder and owner of The Whisky Exchange, believes this is a very special bottle for the lucky owner. “Obviously this bottling means a lot to me given the time of its release at the very beginning of The Whisky Exchange, but it’s also now a very rare bottle indeed and an absolute must for any Ardbeg collection. Islay single malts aged in sherry casks are rare because very often it simply does not work, but when it does the result is magical – and believe me this one works. It’s a whole different dimension of whisky experience, the buyer is in for a treat.”

Singh also believes this bottle is a prime example of the incredible rise in interest and demand for old and rare whisky. “Over the 20 years we’ve been in business, we have seen demand for old and rare whisky continue to grow year on year and we don’t anticipate this changing. The market for collecting and investing in whisky is ever-increasing, taking prices up, and for the extra special bottles like this one, it’s just the beginning. This ballot is our way of thanking everyone who’s supported us over the past 20 years, by giving them the chance to own and enjoy something they may have missed out on the first time.

Bottled on 23 June 1999 from a single sherry cask, Ardbeg 1976 Manager's Choice was the release that put the distillery firmly back on the map. This stunning single malt balances the character of cask and spirit, with rich dried fruit, tobacco and worn leather poised against tarry ropes, singed oranges and tropical fruit.

The cask was selected by then distillery manager Stuart Thomson from a rich seam of whisky in Ardbeg's warehouse #10. It was filled on 4 November 1976 and bottled by hand at 22 years old on 23 June 1999, with each one hand-numbered and signed by Stuart. The 497 bottles were only available to purchase at the distillery shop, and quickly became a cornerstone of the Ardbeg renaissance.

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