A Comprehensive Guide to Whisky Tasting & Appreciating

A Comprehensive Guide to Whisky Tasting & Appreciating

 

Let’s set the scene…Your eagerly-awaited package from Cask Trade has finally arrived – the cask strength whisky samples are finally in your possession. Now it’s time to nose, taste, and appreciate. There is, however, more to whisky tasting than you think, and certainly, a few dos and don’ts to get the maximum appreciation when tasting this wonderful spirit. Below is our guide to help you on your journey of whisky discovery.

THE SETTING – The key here is to find the most neutral environment you can. The kitchen, for example, can be a very poor place to taste whisky, especially if there are lingering smells of cooking, coffee etc. Another pitfall is smoke, so steer clear of all cigars and cigarettes in this moment.

THE TIME OF DAY – The best time of day to appreciate whisky is actually in the morning! The reason for this is that this is when your palate is freshest and hasn’t been dulled by various meals and liquid consumption. Therefore, to truly discover the intricate flavours of these wonderful whiskies, try to taste mid-morning rather than late at night. If you wanted an excuse to drink alcohol in the morning, now have it!

THE WHISKY TASTING GLASS – The shape and quality of the glass is incredibly important in enhancing your enjoyment of tasting whisky. At Cask Trade we use Glencairn glasses in our Regent Street tasting room and for all our events. The design curves inwards which funnels and concentrates the flavours of the whisky. This style of glass is widely available and inexpensive. As an alternative, a small wine or port glass could be substituted but avoid large red wine glasses, tumblers and shot glasses.

THE WATER – We suggest a bottle of mineral water at room temperature. Ice and chilled water should be avoided as they will suppress the flavour of the whisky. Tap water can be quite variable, so is not recommended.

Pouring whisky

STEP 1- THE COLOUR

Before you start the whisky tasting it’s time to assess the colour and viscosity. If for example the whisky has been aged in a sherry cask, then look for different shades of a reddish mahogany hue. A pale golden colour will indicate a bourbon cask. Whilst age can certainly deepen the colour of the whisky, it isn’t the most reliable indicator as other factors, such as the age of cask the whisky is matured in. Pour the whisky into the glass and hold up against the light.

We find that making notes helps the process, especially if you are tasting a significant number of whiskies. An important point of difference is that many whiskies that have been bottled, have been coloured with small amounts of tasteless caramel. Whisky companies do this because the whisky does not age uniformly in the casks, so by shading the colours between batches, they get a consistency of colour. At Cask Trade you are only tasting the real, pure, unadulterated whisky, straight from the cask.

STEP 2 – THE VISCOSITY

Long legs or short legs is what you’re looking for here. Swirl the glass around and you will see what is known as the ‘legs’ tumbling down the glass. Longs legs are a good indication of high alcohol content (which should be the case with cask strength whisky), whilst slow-moving legs indicate a whisky that is quite oily.

Whisky tasting

STEP 3 –THE AROMA/NOSE

Our nose can detect literally 100’s of flavours, whilst our tongue can only detect five! Therefore, the nosing of the whisky is so key to appreciation. We suggest you start by bringing the glass slowly towards your nose and then gently smell the whisky. With high strength whisky you have to be careful, as you may anesthetise your nose. If this does happen, a useful trick is to sniff the back of your hand and this should ‘reset’ your olfactory bulb, which is responsible for your sense of smell. At this point, we recommend that you don’t swirl the glass anymore as this can release more ethanol notes, which is not what we are aiming for.

Continue to gently nose the whisky by moving the glass away and towards your nose, not forgetting to try nosing with one nostril and then the other. Again, we recommend that you make notes as you go along. We should also point out that there are no wrong or right answers here, as the aromas you are picking up are going to vary from person to person. Read the tasting notes for the same whisky from two industry experts and see how completely different they can be.

Helpful tip – If you are tasting more than one sample from different regions, then start with the non-peated, sweet, fruity, Speyside distilleries and finish with the most earthy, spicy, peaty, Highland/Islays.

STEP 4 – THE PALATE

Our palate can only pick up only five different flavours; sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and savoury. This is why when we have a cold, our food tastes quite bland. However, the tasting and drinking is the fun part, so take a small sip of the whisky and hold it in your mouth for a few seconds, swirling it from one side of your tongue to the other.

Again, at this point, we find it useful to take notes as you’re going along. Try to pick out the different types of fruit, sweetness, nutty, smoky, earthy, floral, spicy flavours that you are detecting. Also, assess the texture and mouthfeel. Is it full-bodied, or light and thin? Does it have a creamy texture? Do the flavours and texture change in your mouth?

Drinking whisky

STEP 5 – THE FINISH

How is the finish? Does the flavour linger in the back of your throat, or does it dissipate quite quickly? In essence, is it a long or short finish?

STEP 6 – THE REPEAT

Now’s the time to repeat the whole process and drink some more whisky! However, this time we recommend that you add a tiny drop of water. The water causes a chemical reaction and opens the whisky up, allowing more flavours and aromas to come to the fore. Try adding a little more water each time and notice the differences until you get to where you reach a point that suits your palate. This can actually change from whisky to whisky, depending on your own preference, and the individual reaction of each whisky to the water.

THE REFILL – How to taste whisky is certainly subjective and it is all about your own appreciation and how you like to drink it. We hope you find the above a useful guide, to maximise your enjoyment in tasting our cask spirits. Our customers are regularly invited to our special tasting room on Regent Street London to sample some of our very special casks. We hope to see you there soon.

If you’d like to visit us and you’re interested in purchasing a cask, feel free to book a whisky tasting with the Masters. Contact us here.

Scotch Whisky Growth – Will it continue?

Scotch Whisky Growth – Will it continue?

 

It’s clear that in the last 10 years, Scotch Whisky sales have grown exponentially. This has led to the price of bottles and casks at all levels of the market increasing in value – the laws of supply and demand are evidentially at work. The question that investors must ask though will this growth continue? The answer we think is yes, and in this article, we will articulate why the future continues to look very bright for the world’s favourite spirit.

Firstly, to paraphrase a former US defense secretary, let’s ponder the known unknowns. Scotch whisky is a global product with over 170 export markets, and it has certainly faced adversity in various forms including wars, political instability, government tax policies, economic recessions, and unforeseen global pandemics. However, taking all this into account we’re still confident the growth trend is going to only go in one direction for the foreseeable future, and here is why…

India

INDIA

Currently, there are over 50 million whisky bottle sales in India but Scotch Whisky only accounts for about 2% of this (the majority is very cheap Indian whisky). The stumbling block here is the eye-watering 150% tariff imposed by the Indian government. Complicating matters further, are the extra variable regulations and taxation from all 28 Indian States. This in effect, creates a very complex, expensive marketplace. When you consider that the average salary in India is a lot less than in the UK, it is clear, that only the wealthier tiers of the population can afford Scotch Whisky.

However, the good news is on the way. Having left the EU, the UK government is now free to pursue its own trade policy, and negotiations with the Indian government are at an advanced stage to vastly reduce this tariff. When this happens, combined with India’s 1.4 billion population and rapidly growing number of middle-class, we expect Scotch Whisky sales to rocket upwards.

China

CHINA

Sales of Scotch Whisky have grown tenfold in the last 20 years in China, and whilst the tariff is very low at 5% there are major challenges in this market. Number one is the issue with fake whisky, which takes away a large percentage of sales and the reluctance of the authorities to enforce penalties on the bootleggers. However, the positives for this market are that the Chinese consumer is now much less tolerant of these shenanigans and is starting to demand the real liquid.

Another optimistic trend is the growth in Single Malt Whisky and older more Premium Blends. The Scotch Whisky companies are investing a lot into China and it’s hard to see anything but very positive growth for the years to come. China also has a huge population of 1.5 billion, so even a small percentage increase in consumer demand will have a significant increase in total sales.

Asia Pacific

ASIA PACIFIC

Market trends have predicted the fastest growth for Scotch Whisky in this region than any other in the world. Higher disposable incomes in the Asian Tiger economies of countries like Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore are expected to be the main driving force. One interesting trend is the growth in Single Malt Whisky and the Whisky Enthusiast market in general. In many countries Blended Whisky leads the way and establishes the market, then as the consumer becomes more knowledgeable the demand for older whiskies and Single Malt brands increases.

Economic growth in this region is expected to develop faster than anywhere else in the world, therefore even if Scotch Whisky just grows in-line with GDP, the increase in sales will be very significant indeed. The UK government is also signing several FTA’s in this region including in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and is expected to be invited to join TTIP in the near future. (The Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership).

South America

CENTRAL/SOUTH AMERICA

Similar to Asia, this region has incredible growth potential. Brazil and Mexico have become large Scotch Whisky markets and countries like Chile, Argentina and Columbia are growing fast. Consumers in this region see Scotch Whisky as very aspirational and when they reach a certain level of income, they want to be seen to be drinking the famous brands, almost as a status symbol. There are plenty of economic and political challenges in this region (see Venezuela) but the positives are certainly outweighing any negatives at present.

USA

USA

This is the most valuable market in the world for Scotch Whisky and spirits in general – again there are many positives to consider. The 25% extra trade war tariff that was imposed on Scotch imports has now been suspended for five years, which should mean that sales will pick up again for 2021.

The UK and US governments have started negotiations on a long-term free trade agreement which will at some point be finalised and signed.

Again, this will accelerate the sales growth in Scotch Whisky in its most important market. The US market is very mature with many knowledgeable consumers who purchase the older expressions of Single Malt Whisky. Good growth in this market will put increased pressure on the more mature aged stock, thus increasing prices.

Africa

AFRICA

In recent years, South Africa has become a very important market fuelled by the rising number of middle-class people in that country. Africa overall has great growth potential but is starting from a very low base in terms of sales.

However, the potential upside is huge and whisky companies have started to invest in countries like Kenya, Nigeria, and Angola. This is the hardest region to predict, but due to the expanding number of middle-class consumers, the signs do look very positive.

Eastern Europe

RUSSIA/ EASTERN EUROPE

Despite the challenges of 2020 the two largest markets of Russia and Latvia still managed to grow by 14.2% and 11.9% respectively! The future certainly looks bright in this part of the world. Trends here show that wealthy consumers see Scotch Whisky as a real aspirational status symbol. Denied to most consumers trapped behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ they are certainly making up for lost time. Russian consumers are increasingly drinking more Single Malts like Macallan and are attracted to the older luxury brands in general.

CONCLUSION – Currently, Blended Whisky accounts for about 85% of all Scotch Whisky consumed, with the rest mainly made up of Single Malt. The long-term global trend shows that the real growth will come from Single Malt Whisky and the Premium Blends. This will put more pressure on aged stocks and will keep the price inflation moving at a healthy rate. Consumers are becoming increasingly aspirational and are drawn to brands that have real history and heritage.

This is the ace card for the Scotch Whisky industry as this is something they have in abundance, and the marketing and packaging of these brands has improved immensely over the last 10 years. Whilst there are a number of smaller new distilleries opening all the time, the demand for their whisky is at present unclear. However, sourcing casks from the many established distilleries has become increasingly harder as the demand goes up.

Finally, with all the FTAs that the UK government are currently signing and that are in the pipeline, this can only help the future sales of a global export like Scotch Whisky. To conclude, when looking at the global market all the long-term trends are heavily pointing upwards, and even scratching beneath the surface reveals that the growth potential is huge, especially in many of the emerging markets. We feel that despite the incredibly challenging 2020 all the indicators point to the Scotch Whisky Industry continuing its success, and the economic pressures of supply and demand pushing prices and investments higher for the short, medium, and long term.

Sources: Scotch Whisky Association, Scotch Whisky Industry Review, British Government.

To find out more about Scotch Whisky Investment, contact the Masters today.

Whitlaw Distillery Focus – (Highland Park) 

Whitlaw Distillery Focus – (Highland Park) 

 

The Whitlaw Hills sit behind the famous Highland Park Distillery and therefore the name Whitlaw is regularly used as a pseudonym for the brand. This is a rare opportunity to own a cask from a top-tier distillery whose popularity has just exploded in the last 30 years. The peat in the Orkneys is very different from the mainland and is composed of moss and heather, which produces more of a light smoke interwoven with aromatic and fragrant notes. Whitlaw Distillery’s style is a sweet, honeyed, and spicy malt that can be quite fruity with a long slightly smoky finish. This whisky is truly delicious. 

Highland Park’s early history is shrouded in mystery and there are conflicting opinions as to when it first opened, however, it is clear that by the latter half of the 19th Century the distillery was thriving, producing fillings for blends. It may surprise many that the first single malt bottling didn’t appear until the late 1970s but ever since then the distillery has gone from strength to strength. It’s safe to say that after the mythical cult of Ardbeg, Highland Park would come in a close second within the community. The marketing has certainly played a part in this, being cleverly themed on Norse gods and Vikings with a strong dose of Orcadian folklore thrown in for good measure. 

From an investment perspective, a Whitlaw Distillery cask is a very welcome addition to any portfolio, assuming the price is acceptable. There’s currently a number of 2018 Whitlaw casks on our stock list – we would recommend holding it for at least eight years until the first milestone age of 10 years, but it would also be a great medium to long-term investment to wait until the cask was 12, 15, 18, 21 or even 25-years-old. Whenever you decide on your exit strategy there will certainly be a long queue willing to purchase. This rates as a strong buy.

To find out more about investing in Whitlaw casks, contact The Masters today!

Dalmunach Distillery Focus

Dalmunach Distillery Focus

 

It’s safe to say that Pernod Ricard can boast the most beautiful classical-looking distillery (Strathisla), the most beautiful art deco 20th Century distillery (Tormore), and now the prize for the most aesthetically pleasing modern distillery in Dalmunach Distillery. Built in 2015 on the site of the old Imperial Distillery, Dalmunach uses all the technology of the modern age and is incredibly energy efficient, using 40% less gas/electricity and 15% less water than the industry average. When your production is 10,000,000 litres per annum, then that makes a significant difference to costs and the distillery’s carbon footprint. 

Many industry insiders were quite surprised when the historic Imperial Distillery was demolished, but credit to its innovative owners who recycled elements of the old distillery into the new construction. 

At present, the plan for Dalmunach is to supply single malt whisky for famous blends like Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, and Royal Salute. For Chivas, the age of the youngest whisky in the blend is 12 years, whilst for Royal Salute it’s 21, therefore there’s still a lot of aging to do. However, so far about 50 Independent Bottlings have already come onto the market. 

The fermentation time is 56-62 hours and the four pairs of stills are huge, with the wash stills at 28,000 litres and the spirit stills at 18,000. 

For investors, already Dalmunach has shown itself to be very versatile for any exit strategy. The whisky clearly can be bottled young and it is quite exciting to think about how special it will be when it reaches its milestone ages of 10, 12, 15, and 18. The Independent Bottlers are already very interested in these casks.

Other factors to consider are the famous deep-pocketed owners, who know how to make great whisky and possibly at some point in the near future will start marketing and investing in developing the Dalmunach brand. We think that this is the time to closely look at Dalmunach before it becomes established in the pantheon of much loved Speyside distilleries.  

Fact File

Name: Dalmunach 

Founded: 2015 

Region: Speyside 

Owners: Pernod Ricard 

Capacity: 10 million litres 

Stills: 8 

Fermentation: 56-62 hours 

Peated/Unpeated: Unpeated 

Casks Used: Bourbon & Sherry 

Recent significant awards: Non entered 

Independent bottlings: Around 50 

We have 2017 Dalmunach casks on our current stock list.
To find out more about investing in Dalmunach casks, contact The Masters today!

Myriam’s Distillery Focuses – Lindores Abbey & Isle of Harris Distillery

Myriam’s Distillery Focuses – Lindores Abbey & Isle of Harris Distillery


Sales and Marketing Manager Myriam Mackenzie had the pleasure of returning to her Scottish roots on a recent trip to Scotch-land, where she enjoyed visiting a few fantastic distilleries.

Lindores Abbey Distillery

Lindores Abbey Distillery

A recent visit to Scotland included a tour around Lindores Abbey Distillery in Fife. A relatively new distillery, founded in 2017, it is referred to as the spiritual home of Scotch whisky. The site and abbey ruins are steeped in history and lay claim to the first written record of whisky production dating back to 1494. Friar John Cor, a monk at the Abbey of Lindores, wrote a letter whereby he stated that by order of King James IV, he was instructed to make “aqua vitae, VIII bolls of malt”. Distillation of aqua vitae (meaning ‘water of life’ in Latin) was popular in monasteries at the time and later commonly referred to as ‘uisge beatha’ in Scottish Gaelic. Today, this historic spirit is widely known as whisky.

Lindores Abbey Distillery

With a modest annual production of 225,000 litres which is set to expand further this year, the family-owned distillery shows clear dedication to heritage and craft. They use local barley grown in the surrounding fields which were under the original ownership of the abbey in the 15th century. This year saw the release of their very first whisky: the Lindores Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky matured in a selection of ex-bourbon barrels, ex-sherry casks and ex-wine barriques. A visit to the warehouse gives the impression that the owners are open to experimentation with different types of cask maturation. Among the typical bourbon barrels used in the industry, I also noted an interesting selection of casks of varying sizes from Spain, Portugal, and even Australian wineries. They proudly refer to their cask selection and ‘Kingdom of Fife’ barley on the label, but notably also their team of ‘Lindores people’, as well as a thank you to those who have contributed to their story by buying a bottle.

A beautifully presented distillery inside and out, when you visit it you instantly feel you are part of their story. The still room has an impressive view which overlooks the abbey ruins and the visitor centre contains local historical artefacts, including some of the original pillars of the abbey. The tour involves a great deal of history too which is what ultimately inspired the building of this new distillery and community at Lindores. In the words of the late whisky writer, Michael Jackson, “for the whisky-lover, it is a pilgrimage”.

Isle of Harris Distillery

Isle of Harris Distillery

Located in the Outer Hebrides on the west coast of Scotland, the Isle of Harris Distillery was founded in 2014 by a group of investors who shared a passion for whisky, the island community, and the landscape of Harris. Among them, a former marketing director for Glenmorangie who now manages the distillery. The core values behind this unique enterprise represent the rich heritage and warm hospitality of the island. Known as ‘the social distillery’, they seek to employ people with connections to Harris or from the island itself and train them in the art of whisky-making. This brings much-needed employment to a modest island population and it’s beneficial for tourism too. Harris distillery now welcomes over 100,000 visitors a year.

Isle of Harris Distillery

Everything about this community-driven project has been carefully crafted, from the distillery layout to the final product. When you walk into the warehouse, there’s a sense of creativity and individuality as well as a homage to tradition. The casks bear the emblematic Harris logo as well as the hand-written messages and names of the investors who bought the first casks laid down by the distillery. Also in the warehouse is an art installation of staves, another thoughtful addition and dedication to those that helped fund the beginnings of the distillery. I’m proud to say ‘The Mackenzie Spirit’ is engraved into one of these staves!

Today the core product is Harris gin; a smooth refreshing gin made from nine botanicals with locally harvested sugar kelp, presented in an iconic bottle that is inspired by the sea. Yet to come, is the whisky – a non-chill filter natural colour whisky which is to be named the Hearach (translating as a person from Harris in Scottish Gaelic). There is no release date yet for their whisky, all we’re told on the tour is that ‘we’re not in a hurry’. In the meantime, you can taste the peated new-make spirit made from concerto barley and at the end of the tour you are offered a dram of Highland Park 12-Year-Old as a nod to the style of whisky the distillery aspires to create.

To find out more about investing in Whisky Casks and to speak to the Masters themselves, contact the Team today!

Whisky Tasting at Tanner De Witt – HK

Whisky Tasting at Tanner De Witt – HK

 

Last week Cask Trade HK hosted a fantastic and insightful whisky tasting event at Tanner De Witt.

Sales Director John Wong and Exec Alan NG were in their element as they delved deep into the whiskies’ histories and presented their knowledge on a variety of Speyside expressions, explaining to guests the joys and opportunities of cask ownership. Attendees were treated to some delicious drinks, including the ‘Talisker with a twist Highball’ and drams of ‘Ancient’ and ‘Modern’ Talisker.

A pair of delightful cask samples drawn from 2008 Glen Moray and Linkwood casks, followed by a classic eight-year-old Glen Moray bottled in the 1990s. A 1994 Secret Speyside matured in a sherry puncheon was the last dram featured in the tantalising tasting line-up.

Following the success of the event there is already talk of another one due to popular request, so watch this space…

To find out more about John and our new Hong Kong office and offerings, get in touch today.

 

Whisky & Biltong Evening with The Hebrew Order of David Barmitzvah Project

Whisky & Biltong Evening with The Hebrew Order of David Barmitzvah Project

 

Whisky sampling

Last Sunday, September 5th the Masters teamed up with the Hebrew Order of David Barmitzvah  Project at the lavish Hartsbourne Country Park to host an evening of whisky tasting and biltong – truly a match made in heaven…

Event guests

The event featured a decadent spread of shawarma and salads, as well as a guest appearance from England Cricket Legend Graham Gooch. The tasting itself consisted of a variety of four very different Cask Strength single malt Whiskies and was expertly lead by Cask Trade’s Brand Executive Phil Huckle, who guided the guests on a journey of Whisky Discovery.

Graham Gooch Phil Huckle

Attendees were treated to a dram of a Glen Moray 12-year-old, a Royal Brackla 14-year-old, a 10-year Armore, and a 13-year Orkney Islands single malt, all of which were sampled along with a side of humour as Phil entertained and educated the crowd.

Whisky samples

MD Simon was at the helm of the charity auction, allocating a variety of exciting prizes to the highest bidder. Cask Trade donated a few prizes that the team really wished they could bid for themselves, including a guided Whisky and Cheese pairing night for six guests in our Regent Street tasting room, a bottle of delicious 27-year-old Glen Garioch, and a divine 25-year-old Mortlach.

Simon Aron

A special thank you to Masters Jess Simmons and Joel Luumi who helped keep the whisky flowing throughout the evening and to organiser Laurence Gishen. Slàinte!

Interested in investing in Whisky Casks? Contact the team today.

 

Bunnahabhain Distillery Focus

Bunnahabhain Distillery Focus

 

Bunnahabhain… We think it would be only right to start off with the pronunciation – Boon*ah*hav*enn – because let’s face it, if you’re not swinging a claymore sword around the Highlands you’re probably going to be slightly flummoxed. The translation of the name actually means ‘Mouth of the River’ and Bunnahabhain Distillery is located on Islay’s rugged north coast. It was built in 1881 by the whisky blenders Robertson & Baxter. Besides building the distillery, they also built houses and a community for their workers, plus a road with a pier to link to the outside world. It was certainly an impressive project. With the owners being blenders, it was clear that the destination for the whisky was only heading in one direction and Bunnahabhain became one of the central Malts for Black Bottle, Famous Grouse, and Cutty Sark. 

In the 1960s whisky boom production doubled and today they have a capacity of 2.7 million litres, which they split between roughly 1/3 peated to 2/3 unpeated. Interestingly they have really increased the phenol specification to 35-45ppm, (as a point of reference Laphroaig is 45ppm). Today, the focus is very much on building the brand as a Single Malt bottling, and under owners Distell International they have invested a lot of money with great success. The core range now consists of a 12, 18, 25, and 40-year-old, combined with numerous exciting limited-edition releases, such as the heavily peated Cruach-Mhona and the Eirigh Na Greine, which has vatted together Sherry, Bourbon, and Red Wine Casks. Evidence of this success is the fact that sales have risen 160% in the last few years and it is clear with the excellent repackaging and innovative marketing, that the brand equity is also rising fast.  

Another important factor for investors to consider is Bunnahabhain Distillery is very much revered by Indie Bottlers and so far there have been over 3000 Independent Bottlings to date! This itself is very significant because the bottling companies will certainly be interested in your purchased cask, and this can be a key part of your exit strategy. 

Currently, on our stocklist, we have a rare 2007 Bunnahabhian Sherry Butt. Our recommendation for investors here is that at 14 years old and with a current ABV of 59% there is a multitude of options open. The short-term option would be to wait until it is 18 years old, which is a very appealing age for most Independent Bottlers. Following that, the key milestone ages are 21, 25, and 30. As the current ABV is still fairly high, it is clear that there is a lot of life left in this cask. Our suggestion is to get this cask valued at each milestone age, starting with 18 years and deciding whether to exit or continue at this point. Using our Auction Your Cask sister site, set with a healthy reserve price, could be a very savvy strategy indeed. 

To conclude Bunnahabhain has certainly muscled its way into the top tier of distilleries in the last few years and with owners heavily investing behind its future growth, this has to be a welcome blue ribband addition to any portfolio.

Fact File

Name: Bunnahabhain 

Founded: 1881 

Region: Islay 

Owners: Distell International 

Capacity: 2.7m litres. 

Stills: 4 

Fermentation: 50 – 100 hours 

Peated/Unpeated: Both 1/3 Peated at 35-45 ppm / 2/3 unpeated. 

Casks Used: Mainly sherry but some bourbon and numerous finishes for special editions. 

Current Sales: 600,000 bottles ( 50,000 9l cases) 

Recent significant awards: ISC – International Spirits Challenge –  2019 Double Gold including best in category for the 25yr, Gold Medal for the 12 year. 

Independent bottlings: Around 3000. 

Core Range: 12, 18, 25, 40 year. 

We have 2007 Bunnahabhain Sherry Butts on our current stock list. To find out more about investing in Bunnahabhain Distillery, contact The Masters today!

 

Strathclyde Distillery Focus

Strathclyde Distillery Focus

 

 

Strathclyde Distillery is today the last grain distillery located within the city limits of Glasgow. Situated in the Gorbals, just south of the River Clyde, today it’s an important cog in the Pernod Ricard Scotch Whisky empire. Opened in 1927, the distillery went through several owners, before being bought by Allied Domecq, who used the grain whisky for their coveted Ballantine’s blend. After Pernod took over ownership in 2007 the whisky became a very valuable and integral part of their luxury Chivas Regal and Royal Salute brands. 

Over the years there has only been a very small number of official Strathclyde Distillery bottlings. There have so far been over 200 Independent Bottlings including a very well-received one from the Boutique-y company. When tasting the whisky we have found it incredibly smooth, with notes of buttery toffee, caramel, vanilla, and coconut. It truly is a very delicious, well-made whisky. 

For investors, this style of whisky is becoming ever more popular amongst those with discerning tastes, and therefore the Independent Bottlers who provide for them. This has great potential for a long-term investment strategy, as there is clear evidence that the whisky will mature well over a longer period, well past 30+ years for certain. For anyone looking to have a well-balanced but diverse portfolio of casks, then a high-quality grain whisky like Strathclyde is a must-stock.  

NB… Asian investors may well be attracted to the fact that this is the grain whisky that is a big part of the Royal Salute and Chivas Regal brands. 90% of Royal Salute’s global sales are in Asia and Chivas is the No.1 Scotch whisky brand in China. (Royal Salute Tribute to Honour, which contains 50-year-old Strathclyde in the blend, retails for £150,000 per bottle)

We have 2010 Strathclyde Hogsheads on our current stock list. To find out more about investing in Strathclyde Distillery, contact The Masters today!

Secret Islay

Secret Islay

 

 

The rumours are true! We now have some very high-quality 30-year-old whisky from a famous Secret Islay distillery, which has got the staff at Cask Trade salivating with excitement. Sir Colin Hampden-White had the extremely ‘difficult’ job of sampling a dram of this very special liquid. You can watch his tasting video here.

So why will these casks be called ‘Secret Islay’? Well, it all comes down to naming rights. Some distilleries are very happy to have their name on the casks and subsequently for the Independent Bottlers to promote their brand, whilst others want to protect their core range bottle offering, so they take away the naming rights. Obviously in this case we can’t reveal the distillery name. However what we can say is that it is a very famous well-known distillery, which makes incredible whisky!

It could be the distillery that has a huge cult following, with its disciples travelling from all over the world, to make a pilgrimage to its hallowed gates. Its special releases cause so much excitement, that the cultists will camp out for days to get hold of a bottle. 

It could be the distillery with the very high phenols which pioneered the peat freak phenomenon, which also certainly has its own share of devotees and is arguably the most famous distillery on the island.

Finally, it could be the other member of The Kidalton Three. Possibly not as smoky as the other two members but with a huge reputation in terms of quality and diversity of casks used. 

One thing to be absolutely sure, of from an investor’s point of view, is that this is a rare opportunity to buy one of the most sought after, most famous whiskies, in Scotland. Your exit strategy is certain, as there will be a whole host of other investors and eventually Independent Bottlers, lined up to get their hands on this whisky. We don’t envisage it staying very long on our stock list. There is though one potential pitfall we feel compelled to mention, which is the temptation to bottle and drink your cask might be overwhelming. You know what to do. 

To find out more about our Secret Islay whisky, contact The Masters today!