Braeval bottled by The Good Spirits HK, 1997/2021 58.4%, supplied by Cask Trade
From time to time I will share with you whisky lovers about drams I have at the office – we definitely do not promote worktime drinking – except when drinking is part of the job…!
Indie bottlings have long been a field where drinkers and connoisseurs hunt for something “special” – may it be flavour profile, cask type, or even label design, indie bottlers never fail to amaze us. Last month we talked about how rare it is to see an indie Balvenie, today we are going to explore something more recent.
Braeval Distillery, originally known as Braes of Glenlivet, is considered quite unique and has rarely been seen as a single malt until recent years. The stills at Braeval Distillery feature thin swan necks and upward sloping lyne arms – designed to create a light style of distillate. Let’s see how this affects the performance of the whisky!
Enough talking, let’s go back to the whisky:
Nose: Wildflowers, Fresh Peach, Honey, Vanilla and a little bit White Oak
Palate: The floral aroma lingers, Honey, Banana and more Yellow Fruits
Finish: Juicy fruits along with a hint of warm oak spice
To find out more about John and our new Hong Kong office and offerings, get in touch today.
Mauritius Rum is produced on Mauritius, a tropical island paradise situated east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The island was first a Dutch, then French, then British colony but even though they have been growing an abundance of sugar cane for centuries there was no history of rum production.
This would seem surprising at first glance, but as the locals don’t drink, and the British had an abundance of rum being produced from their Caribbean islands, a law was passed banning production. Even more surprising was that this wasn’t repealed until 2006…! Now there are six producers on the island and La Bourdonnaise Distillery is slowly getting recognised.
A number of bottlings of Mauritius Rum from La Bourdonnaise Distillery have started to appear and there is a particularly good one available by Masters of Malt which has been aged in Sherry Butts – the reviews are good. The rum is made from sugar cane juice and distilled in column stills situated in a stunning old plantation house. Production is currently quite small, but sales are starting to take off around Asia.
One thing for certain is that rum is finally on the rise after threatening to increase in popularity for many years. Mauritius Rum Casks are the new kids on the block but an exciting addition to any portfolio.
We currently have some scrumptious 2010 Marituius Rum Sherry Butts on our stock list. To find out more about Rum Cask Investment, contact The Masters today!
Before the whisky region of Speyside (where the Tamnavulin Distillery is located), all the distilleries in this area were collectively known as ‘the Glenlivets’. This came about because in the mid-1800s many distilleries actually just called their whisky ‘Glenlivet’ to trade on the name. A court case on behalf of the Glenlivet owners meant that all the distilleries had to use a suffix so until the 1980s you would see names like Macallan-Glenlivet, Aberlour-Glenlivet etc.
Tamnavulin Distillery opened in 1966 under the name Tamnavulin-Glenlivet, but considering they are the only other distillery that sits on the River Livet besides its famous neighbour, they certainly had every right to use the name. Initially they just made fillings for blends but sadly from 1995 to 2007, the owners mothballed the distillery.
After reopening it is only in more recent years that the Single Malt bottlings have been released. The style of the whisky is quite light and biscuity due to the half-dozen very large stills and relatively short fermentation time of 48 hours. Interestingly, from 2010 to 2013 they did make a small amount of heavily-peated spirit which is very rare for Speyside.
Today the owners Whyte & Mackay have started to release limited amounts of Single Malt with most of it aged in Oloroso Casks. For investors, it’s worth bearing in mind that Tamnavulin Distillery’s sister is Dalmore and the owners know what they are doing in terms of wood policy and luxury brand marketing.
In the last two years, they have released some well-received expressions finished in Grenache, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir & Cabernet Sauvignon casks. Tamnavulin casks are very good value for money so under the guardianship of Whyte & Mackay (who have openly stated they are shifting the priority from Blends to Malts), now is the right time to invest.
Owner: Whyte & Mackay
Capacity: 4m litres
Fermentation: 54-60 hours
Peated/Unpeated: Unpeated (from 2010 to 2013 a small amount of heavily peated malt was produced)
Casks Used: Mainly sherry , some bourbons casks with different wine cask finishes.
Current Sales: N/A
Recent significant awards: 2020 ISC Awards – Double Gold Tamnavulin Single Cask 1970 , Gold Medal Tamnavulin Tempranillo Finish
Independent bottlings: Around 225
Core Range: Double Cask NAS, Sherry Cask Edition NAS – several limited editions.
Strathmill Distillery is hidden away in the small town of Keith in Speyside. It is one distillery that sometimes slips under the radar due to the fact that hardly any of it ever gets bottled as a Single Malt. Strathmill opened like many in the late Victorian era and its history has been quite unremarkable. Interestingly it was owned by the gin company W&A Gilbey for about 70 years before becoming part of what is now known as Diageo.
Its main function was to make malt for the famous J&B Rare Blend. With J&B being a very light style of whisky it might explain why Strathmill is fitted with a purifier pipe running from the lyne arm to the condenser. This essentially produces a much lighter style of spirit with a slightly oily character which would make sense when you think about the character of the J&B blend.
Production capacity is around 2.6 million litres and they vary the fermentation time between 65 and 120 hours using two pairs of stills. For investors, the attraction here is the rarity in finding any Single Malt from this distillery to drink. Diageo have bottled very little and you can find a 12-year with the whisky specialists if you’re lucky. Clearly, the Independent Bottlers would like to get hold of more casks of this to satisfy the curiosity of their legions of Malt Enthusiasts around the globe.
This tells us that there will be a strong exit strategy in place so if the price looks right, it would certainly be a useful addition to any portfolio. Every Strathmill Distillery expression we’ve seen has been aged in Bourbon Casks and the write-ups for the 23-year and 25-year expressions have been very favourable, so it clearly ages well.
Tasting notes: Expect to find a light, spicy, dry, and peppery style. Vanilla and grassy notes also come to the fore.
Capacity: 2.6m litres
Fermentation: Varied 65 to 120 hours
Casks Used: Bourbon
Current Sales: N/A
Recent significant awards: None entered
Independent bottlings: Around 450
Core Range: None – very limited official bottlings.
Tomatin Distillery in many ways has had quite a remarkable rollercoaster history. Located in Inverness close to the Western edge of Speyside, the distillery opened up in 1897. Post-World War II it underwent a huge expansion going from two stills up to 23 and making it Scotland’s largest distillery. However, the timing was awful as Scotch whisky had just gone into decline and by 1985 the distillery had gone bankrupt and into liquidation.
The saviour arrived from an unexpected source, as the distillery was bought by company Takara & Okara and it was the first Japanese foray into Scotch whisky. Under Japanese ownership, the Tomatin Distillery production was downsized and there has since been a slow evolution from making fillings for blends into becoming a well-known Single Malt brand. In recent years they’ve established a core range of a NAS; a 12, 18, 30 and 36-year-old with many, many limited-editions released.
In 2010 Tomatin Distillery started making a limited amount of peaty whisky called Cu Bocan, then in 2018 a very rare 50-year-old expression was bottled (£10,000 RRP!).Today production capacity is about five million litres with a varied fermentation of between 55 and 110 hours. They’re aged in a variety of casks and like many distilleries, you can find many different finishes.
One important point to highlight for investors is, it is clear that the distillery is taking their foray into establishing themselves as a premium single malt brand very seriously. An example of this is how much they are investing in their wood policy and the fact that they now age their whisky in a significantly high percentage of first-fill bourbon and sherry butts. The progress of Tomatin Distillery has been slow and steady, but the liquid has certainly improved since the dark days of the 80s. This has meant that they have slipped under the radar a bit so adding the odd cask of Tomatin could be a very savvy long-term play for any portfolio. The value is still certainly there.
From juvenile pallet to Whisky Master, new Sales & Marketing Executive Hugh Troup explains how whisky lit a fire in his belly fairly early on, influencing his decision to follow his passion.
How long have you worked for Cask Trade? Two weeks now and loving every minute!
What first ignited your passion for Whisky? My Godfather purchased a cask of whisky when I was born and 14 years later had it bottled. He let me try a sample when I turned 18 and I must admit, I thought it was way too rich and powerful for my delicate, juvenile palate…! As the years went by and my skill and knowledge increased, I was digging through some old boxes and found he had left me two cases of the stuff! I examined the bottle again, opened a fresh one up was delighted to sample this independently bottled 14-year-old Springbank at 56% ABV. This experience lit a fire in my belly (metaphorically and literally speaking) and drove me onward to learn and develop my knowledge further.
What are your top three favourite World Whiskies and why? What are your top three favourite songs? It’s an impossible question for me as my palate is always changing but there are some drams that I’ll always fall back on -1994 Tomatin Single Cask 21-year-old, Laphroaig Lore, and Highland Park 18-year-old are just brilliant, always.
What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of Whisky are the most important for you? Flavour-wise, I love Islay Peat; that rich iodine, seaweed brine and oily smoke is just iconic and instantly recognisable. I also love anything that is all vanilla and cream-soda, and finally I love a nutty rancio flavour. For me the texture of the dram is definitely up there, I love the broad spectrum you can get so long as it’s not confused and muddled.
Your favourite Whisky cocktail? Blood & Sand, unusual but a good one is a real delight.
Whisky with water or straight cask strength? Always straight from the cask for me, then add some water after to open it up and explore the more subtle and nuanced flavours.
What do you like most about Cask Trade? The people. The team’s passion, knowledge and humour are infectious, and I’m enthralled by the day-to-day conversations, debates and wit that fly around the office.
Why should people invest in Whisky Casks? Because it’s exciting, lucrative and an ever-evolving investment. There are few other alternative investments out there that you can watch mature over the years, sample and quite literally taste the fruits of your labours!
To find out more about what Cask Trade can do for you, don’t hesitate to contact the team today and let’s talk whisky!
Elgin, where the Linkwood Distillery is situated, is by far the largest urban settlement in the sparsely populated region of Scotland known as Speyside. It boasts the region’s only nightclub and possibly the most bonkers statue in the whole of the UK, (Google Dandy Lion Elgin and you’ll catch our drift!) but whilst you can’t seem to travel more than a few hundred yards before you trip over another distillery, in Elgin there are only two.
Linkwood is part of the Diageo empire but it is incredibly hard to find it bottled as a Single Malt. One of the main reasons for this is that Linkwood Distillery is classified by blenders as a ‘top dressing malt’. If you think of all the distilleries being classified by blenders in league tables, you have an elite 10 which are the most sought after – these malts really add a lot of depth of flavour to a blend. Some of these ‘top dressers’ include Longmorn, The Glenlivet, Highland Park, Macallan, and of course Linkwood.
When you think that blended Scotch whisky still accounts for about 85% of the global market then you’ll understand why the availability can be very limited, as the blends are where the whisky companies still make the bulk of their profits. Linkwood Distillery can trace its history back to 1821 and they age their whisky in a variety of casks, but these rarely come onto the market.
Recently, a 37-year limited-edition was released which gained a few plaudits from the whisky writers. If a Linkwood cask comes onto the market be aware that this is a leading Premiership Malt, despite not having the fame of some of its Speyside cousins. A worthwhile investment.
Capacity: 5.6m litres
Fermentation: Varied between 65-100 hours
Casks Used: Bourbon
Current Sales: N/A
Recent significant awards: None entered
Independent bottlings: Around 1750
Core Range: None – several limited edition releases