MYSTERY surrounds the identity of a female whiskey lover who spent £16million on a single cask of 47-year-old single malt at auction.

The world record drink, known as Cask No. 3, was produced in 1975 by Scotland’s Ardbeg distillery on the island of Islay.

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A mystery surrounds the identity of a whiskey lover who spent £16m on a single cask of 47-year-old single malt at auction

The previous most expensive cask was a relatively cheap £1million, set a few months earlier for a 1988 Macallan.

The Ardbeg cask, bought by a woman in Asia, is expected to fetch 440 bottles, with the buyer getting 88 a year 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 fan of Scotch after visiting the Highlands and “falling in love with the country”.

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A connoisseur online commented on the sale: “Scotland is a wonderful place and the whiskey is the best in the world, but £16million for a cask is unbelievable.

“They must have really loved Islay when they visited, and then again, who wouldn’t fall in love with the place.”

The whiskey is described as having “a smoky taste with hints of dried fruit and sun-faded potpourri, with a nutty finish”.

Writer and whiskey expert Charles MacLean described the £16 million cask as “a remarkable piece of liquid history”.

He added: “The factors that make a particular whiskey investable are threefold: rarity, flavor and variety.

“And collectors love Scotch, because of its provenance and its history.”

The final price includes costs such as storage, insurance, bottling, labeling, distillery visits and taxes.

That was more than double the amount Ardbeg’s owner paid for the distillery and all of its stock in 1997.