21st February 2017: The first bottle – 1/522 – of Lagavulin 1991, the single cask bottling released on 31st December 2016 as the culmination of the distillery’s bicentenary celebrations, will be auctioned to raise money for charity Islay heritage. The auction will run online with whisky and fine spirits specialists Whisky.Auction from Sunday 26th February to Tuesday 7th March 2017.

The release of this most collectible bottle of the Limited Edition follows the success of a ballot (closed on 12th February) run by The Whisky Exchange for the chance to buy one of the other 519 bottles*. This attracted over 7,000 entries from 74 countries. Diageo’s proceeds from these sales (£0.5m) are being donated to seven causes on Islay to promote the island and communities within it.

Distillery Manager Georgie Crawford commented: “It is wonderful to know there is so much affection around the world for Lagavulin Single Malt Scotch Whisky and our Islay home. Our distinctive distillery character shines in Lagavulin 1991, which will now be truly memorable both for the complexity of the whisky and legacy it is creating for the island. The auction will be an amazing opportunity for someone to own bottle 1/522 and boost the impact of the projects we’re supporting.”

The starting price for bottle number 1/522 is £1,494 (the original RRSP for The Whisky Exchange ballot, which pays homage to the first recorded year of distillation of Scotch Whisky). In addition to the highly collectible bottle number, the value of the lot will be increased by a 10cl tasting sample and the winning bidder will be offered the opportunity to have the bottle or box signed by Georgie Crawford and the Lagavulin Distillery team.

Four expert whisky writers – Dave Broom, Ian Buxton, Colin Hampden-White and Charles MacLean – have donated their tasting notes for a one-off, leather-bound notebook to accompany bottle 1/522.

On, Dave Broom described Lagavulin 1991 as: “A box of many treasures. Quite a way to finish the birthday party.” Following a tasting in January, Ian Buxton, author of 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die, commented: “This may just be the tastiest Lagavulin Whisky ever.” Whisky Quarterly editor Colin Hampden-White agreed: “Complex and luxuriant, certainly the best Lagavulin I have ever experienced.” Charlie MacLean, a Master of the Quaich, added: ““A cross between a dowager duchess and a salty sea-dog. An outstanding example of the make.”

They will hand write their full notes in the book alongside those from Georgie Crawford on behalf of all at Lagavulin Distillery.

Diageo will donate its full proceeds from the auction of this single bottle to Islay Heritage (OSCR No. SC046938), the principal beneficiary from the initial seven charities, to fund projects on the island that are designed to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the rich and diverse history of Islay. Bidders must register at

Isabel Graham-Yooll, Auction & Private Client Director for Whisky.Auction, said: “Following the great response to the ballot with our sister company The Whisky Exchange, we are proud to offer the highly collectible bottle number one of this stunning single cask Lagavulin 1991 in our February auction. There is much excitement already among our private clients and we hope many more will register to bid for this drop of history in support of Islay Heritage. In keeping with the charitable nature of this bottling, whisky.Auction is pleased to donate the buyer’s commission to Islay Heritage.”

Steve Mithen, Trustee of Islay Heritage and Professor of Archaeology expressed thanks on behalf of the charity: “The generous gifts from Lagavulin, Whisky.Auction and the successful bidder will help bring 12,000 years of heritage on Islay alive to tell the story of this remarkable island, from the earliest ice-age hunter-gatherers to step foot on Islay to the 19th century crofting communities. Islay Heritage will provide community-based excavations and surveys, walking trails, and exhibitions to bring the past into the present, and enable people today to encounter past landscapes and communities of Islay.”

*519 bottles were available in the ballot, the remaining three were allocated as follows: one to remain in Diageo’s Lagavulin archive, one for The Whisky Exchange as partner in the project, and 001/522 purchased by Diageo for auction.

To learn more about the charities set to deliver these legacy projects, and for more detail of bottling please visit

To register to bid in the auction, visit:

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Lagavulin 1991 Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (52.7% ABV) Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Lovely, deep olive-hued chestnut becoming clear orange-hued amber in sunlight. Fresh and lightly oily with water.

Nose: Instant and insistent, yet light, clean and detailed throughout. Charred oak and rich, mature fruits are backed by subtle milk chocolate and vanilla. Agitation reveals a recollection of new make and the characteristic Lagavulin note of fresh newsprint, developing burnt caramel, subtle spent match and a slightly sapid note of moist earth. Later, ripe red apple and a fine hint of smoked fish sprinkled with olive oil. Water changes all this, yielding fresh, sweet notes of candied peel, marzipan and sugar icing, of subtle maple smoked foods, and finally of honey and dark chocolate.

Body: Medium to rich; smooth. Softly fluid with water. Palate: Hot and sweet. A moment of woody dryness; then calmer, with soothing, sweetly minty chocolate notes and comforting honey laced with a subtle chilli-like heat. A bitter-sweet, charred astringency rises in the mid-palate, carrying notes of cocoa and espresso toward the finish. Water brings succulent, sweet-spicy warmth and a balancing ripe fruit acidity. Then drying cocoa, crystallised ginger and peppermint lead smoothly to late, silky tannins.

Finish: Gentle, well balanced and fresh throughout. Quietly persistent with tart, red berry notes, a little cedar and a spicy, smoky-gingery warmth that makes for a pleasing aftertaste.

Lagavulin Legacy Charity information

The proceeds received by Diageo from the ballot sales of the Lagavulin 1991 bottling will be donated to the following registered charities in the following proportions, to fund projects on Islay which are designed to enhance the understanding of the rich and diverse history of Islay and enhance the life of the local community.

The origins of Lagavulin

Local records suggest that Lagavulin was already a centre of whisky production in the early 18th century. There had almost certainly been many other illicit stills before John Johnston founded the first legal distillery at Lagavulin Bay in 1816. As with all Scottish distilleries, it passed through the hands of different owners, including the celebrated Sir Peter Mackie, whose company became White Horse Distillers, forever associated with Lagavulin. White Horse joined The Distillers Company Ltd. (eventually Diageo) in 1927. In 1989, Lagavulin, now normally bottled at 16 years rather than the original 12, became one of the six Classic Malts of Scotland.

About Diageo:

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at For our global resource that promotes responsible

Islay Heritage (OSCR No. SC046938)

A wide ranging scope to include: research at Dunyvaig Castle, the creation of an Islay Heritage trail to help more people understand its rich history, conservation work focusing on Kildalton chapel and education. FUNDING AMOUNT: £310,000

McTaggart Cyber Café (OSCR No. SC028306)

Some upgrade works to the fabric of the building including heating, new doors & windows and improvements to the Bistro Café area to allow for more activities for a wider range of people. FUNDING AMOUNT: £60,000

Islay & Jura Community Enterprises Limited McTaggart Leisure Centre (OSCR No. SC015815)

Some fundamental works are required for the swimming baths to upgrade equipment and improve energy efficient. FUNDING AMOUNT: £60,000

Finlaggan Trust (OSCR No. SC000821)

Refurbishment and modernisation of the existing visitor centre and development of the Finlaggan Bridge. FUNDING AMOUNT: £60,000

Islay Arts (OSCR No. SC000272)

Funding will enable Islay Arts to increase the scope of events it funds. FUNDING AMOUNT: £20,000

Islay Festival Association (OSCR No. SC004390)

Funding will help support the organisation to develop its events programme. FUNDING AMOUNT: £10,000

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (OSCR No. SC037654)

(Charity Commission No. 207076)

RSPB is actively engaged in peat restoration on its estates on Islay at The Oa and Loch Gruinart. The funding will be used to fund peat restoration and conservation on the island.  FUNDING AMOUNT: £60,000

AA Whisky Auction


Whisky.Auction is an auction website offering a monthly online auction of the finest and rarest whiskies from the most sought-after distilleries around the world, as well as fine spirits, miniatures and memorabilia. It was set up by a collection of the industry’s leading whisky experts, including the world-renowned Sukhinder Singh from The Whisky Exchange, in April 2015.

Whisky.Auction is run by a knowledgeable and passionate team led by Director Isabel Graham-Yooll who bring together buyers and sellers from across the globe and offer a range of services including valuations of private collections. Whisky.Auction has sold over 10,000 lots of whiskies and fine spirits at the auction since it launched, and in a short time has become recognised as one of the most trusted and authoritative online whisky auctions in the world. For more information, email or call 020 8838 9381


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