Tormore Distillery Focus

Tormore Distillery Focus

 

Before we get to the liquid we’re going to go off on another architectural tangent because you need to know this….The Tormore distillery looks absolutely stunning. Before Macallan built their unusual-looking distillery, Tormore could lay claim to Scotlands most unique distillery. It was build in 1959 and designed by famed architect Sir Albert Richardson. It looks very palatial as its made out of Scottish granite in a two-toned colour scheme. There is also a clock tower and everything is trimmed in copper and oak with beautiful landscaped gardens surrounding it. Unfortunately it isn’t open to the public. Although its easily accessible from the main road. So, if you’re in the region its worth going out your way for the photo album. 

In its short history it has already had four owners. The main purpose of the distillery is to make Malt for the Ballantine’s blend. (No.2 top selling whisky in the world after Johnnie Walker). Therefore not much malt is released. However, there are a number of independent bottlings on the market. And this distillery certainly has a cult following with whisky enthusiasts. Not Ardbeg cult following but a more sane rational appreciation. 

Production is now up to 4.8m litres and we generally find this a very smooth light fruity whisky, maybe with some nutty characteristics on occasion. If you can find it the 16yr non chill filtered 48% is an example of how good this whisky is. We’ve always said it’s a shame that it is such an important part of various blends that it is hidden from so many whisky enthusiasts around the world. 

From a whisky cask investment strategy there are a lot of ducks in a row here. Firstly the whisky is very high quality. It is relatively rare and is produced by a good whisky company. It is also very much in demand by independent bottlers and whisky enthusiasts/collectors. Finally, it is still good value for money. Many many positives..!

We currently have a range of 2016 Tormore Barrels on our stock list. To find out more about investing in Tormore casks, contact The Masters today!

Allt-a-Bhainne Distillery Focus

Allt-a-Bhainne Distillery Focus

 

Before we start talking about the liquid we should probably clear a couple things up. Firstly how on earth do you pronounce the distillery name? Allt-A-Bhainne is one of the toughest, but to break it down it is said like ‘ult ah vanya’. The translation means ‘Milk Burn’. A burn is of-course Scottish for a small stream, we’re not sure about the milk part…

The distillery itself was build in 1975 by the Seagram group (and sold to Pernod Ricard in 2001). Like most 1970s architecture its ugly, incorporating that depressing Stalinist concrete design that has never looked aesthetically pleasing. 

Now the good news – the liquid is very good. The distillery was built to make malt whisky for some of Seagram’s blends. These include very popular million case+ brands like Passport, 100 Pipers & Something Special. Very little whisky has been released for single malt bottlings so it has become quite collectable. Production is now just over a healthy four million litres per year. The distillery working seven days and 25 mashes per week to keep up demand. Fermentation time is 48 hours and they produce two distinct styles. Firstly, a more traditional Speyside style which from our notes had hints of vanilla, cinnamon, grapefruit & honey. And a peaty style with a phenol content between 10 and 20ppm. This peaty style has a wonderful soft smoke balanced by vanilla sweetness. 

We have some beautiful 1997 Allt-a-Bhainne Barrels and Hogsheads on our current stock list. With this whisky you have a high quality liquid combined with rarity on the market and we can confirm that it does age well, with one highly-rated independent bottling aged 22 years. 

To find out more about investing in Allt-a-Bhainne casks, contact The Masters today!

Heaven Hill Corn Whiskey Distillery

Heaven Hill Corn Whiskey Distillery

 

Let’s start with the definition of corn whiskey as there is always some confusion on this. Whilst other forms of American whiskey have to follow the same rule when it comes to cask maturation i.e. aged in charred first fill white oak casks, Corn whiskey has a lot more latitude as it doesn’t have to be aged. If it is then it has to be in used barrels of any description. It also must have a mashed bill of at least 80% corn whilst bourbon only has to be 51%.

The Heaven Hill distillery is located in Louisville Kentucky. It is still family opened having opened up after prohibition in 1935. Today they make a whole variety of highly respected and sought-after brands. These include Heaven Hill, Pikesville, Elijah Craig and Evan Williams. 

Because corn whiskey has less restrictive rules regarding aging you can sometimes find some interesting cask finishes and different types of barrels being used. Currently as of 03/06/21, we have several 2009 Corn Whisky casks in stock. These have been aged nine years in bourbon barrels and two/three years in sherry puncheons. This has created some wonderful rich flavours that you just wouldn’t find in bourbon. 

Looking at this from an investor perspective it’s not as cut and dried as assessing scotch whisky. However, in the US there are a growing number of distilleries that are now making corn whiskey. And we are also seeing a growing number of independent bottlings appear. We have also started seeing corn whiskey appearing at many Whisky Shows which is more evidence of its growing interest.

Independent bottlers will be interested in this as older expressions are quite hard to find. If you can, get hold of a cask where it’s been aged in both bourbon and sherry. This would be a very unique addition to any portfolio. Finally, it’s made by the Heaven Hill distillery which is very highly respected, award-winning and with great heritage.

To find out more about investing in Heaven Hill Corn Whiskey casks, contact The Masters today!

Orkney Island’s Cask

Orkney Island’s Cask

The Orkneys sit just above the Scottish mainland. It is certainly a mysterious magical place steeped in folklore and strange traditions. The local culture certainly feels different and this has translated into the whisky making. Both of the islands’ distilleries make very unique high-quality Malts. 

As stated there are only two distilleries on the Orkney Islands. Whilst they have very different styles, from an investment point of view there are many similarities. Both are owned by famous powerful whisky companies. They are very sought-after by whisky enthusiasts, collectors and investors alike. Each produce Malt whisky which is absolutely from the top draw. And both are steeped in a fascinating history and heritage. 

One distillery produces a very robust, powerful malt. This whisky is full of spice, heather, hints of smoke and is also fragrant and honeyed. The other smaller distillery produces soft , sweet, smooth, light, floral malts with strong hints of citrus and honey. 

From an investment point of view if the cask says the Orkneys then as there are only two distilleries it is cast iron that you are buying into a top division malt. If the price is right then it will be a valuable edition to any portfolio. Can you guess which distilleries we’re talking about…?

We are due to recieve an exciting delivery of Secret Orkney Malt to add to our stock list. Watch this space…! To find out more about investing in Orkney Malt casks, contact The Masters today!

Aultmore Distillery Focus 

Aultmore Distillery Focus 


Aultmore distillery exterior

When researching the history of many of Scotland’s distilleries it is clear that many have a common history. Aultmore distillery opened in the late 1800’s Victorian boom era. It ran into financial trouble in the 20th century due to two world wars. The great depression, US prohibition, high taxation, and post-war rationing also didn’t help.

When you look at it like that it’s amazing any distillery survived. Aultmore distillery though was always very highly sought after by the blenders so its future was always secure. It was considered a very valuable asset. So much so, that this really restricted any single malt whisky from this distillery being bottled. 

The distillery itself is situated just outside of Keith in Speyside and is owned by Dewars. The production now sits at 3m litres per year. The whisky character is considered to be quite fragrant and fruity on the palate and quite full-bodied overall. It wasn’t until 2004 that a core range 12yr old was released and more recently an 18yr. The packaging was also revamped recently and looks fantastic…

Autmore distillery

Besides that, there haven’t been many official distillery releases besides a few Travel Retail specials. However, the Independent Bottlers have certainly released a huge amount over the years. This is proof that whisky enthusiasts have driven demand.  

From an investment perspective, we really like this distillery. The whisky itself is very good and has been hidden from view due to the fact that the blenders always came first. As just discussed the independent bottlers want this whisky. So, your exit strategy looks secure, and finally, the owners are spending some money building up the brand image. Something to consider is that the 18yr in the core range is very highly rated by many whisky writers. This could be a very savvy addition to your portfolio for long-term investment and wait for that magical year.

We currently have a range of 2013 Autlmore hogsheads on our stock list. To find out more about investing in Aultmore casks, contact The Masters today!

Ardmore Distillery Focus 

Ardmore Distillery Focus 


Ardmore is located right on the Highlands/Speyside border in the middle of the rural Aberdeenshire wilderness. Opened in 1898 it has a similar story to many distilleries opened in the late Victorian era. Blended whisky was booming. The distillery was opened in an area that had a water, barley, peat supply right next to the railway. For most of its history Ardmore was hidden away from Malt enthusiasts.  It was one of the key malts in the Teachers Blend. Although when Beam/Suntory took over in 2006 things rapidly started to change. The new owners started to release Single Malt expressions including several well-received 25yr & 30yr olds. 
 

We’d describe Ardmore as a light to medium peated malt with a ppm of 12-14. This is interspersed with the light smoke is vanilla, orchard fruits and floral notes…Interestingly sales of their Single Malt bottlings are now up to about 60,000 9l cases globally. This has combined with a steady decline in sales of the Teacher blend. It seems to have built up a bit of a following with many Malt aficionados and is certainly a distillery to watch. 

We currently have a range of 2009 & 2010 Ardmore barrels on our stock list. To find out more about investing in Ardmore casks, contact The Masters today!

Benriach Distillery Focus

Benriach Distillery Focus


Benriach was opened in 1897 in the late Victorian era but the distillery only lasted three years until it closed in 1900. It then lay dormant next to its older brother (the Longmorn distillery) until it was re-opened 65 years later. The Seagram company then used it to make Malt for its numerous blends. It wasn’t until Billy Walker and his South African business partners bought the distillery in 2004 that finally Benriach started to emerge from the shadows. What the new owners discovered is that they had uncovered a real Speyside gem. Almost immediately they started releasing a plethora of exciting expressions using different cask finishes. These included Madeira, Moscatel, Sauternes plus a peated cask and older vintages like the 45yr old. 
 

The capacity is up to 2.8m litres per year. They have even started making a few batches of a heavily peated malt and a triple distilled malt. This is done and using both short and long fermentations. Benriach will generally have quite an earthy, nutty, spicy profile with a lot of sweet stoned fruit flavours. 

The Malt enthusiasts are starting to rave about Benriach. We think it has real long term potential. We always think it’s worth looking at who the owners are. In Benriach’s case they are in very good hands and it’s exciting to think about where this distillery will be in 5/10/20 years.

We currently have a range of 2011 & 2012 Benriach hogsheads and sherry butts on our stock list. To find out more about investing in Benriach casks, contact The Masters today!

Clarendon House Estate – Jamaica Rum

Clarendon House Estate – Jamaica Rum

 

Clarendon Estate distillery in Jamaica is one of the four major rum producers on the island. It’s also part of the National Rums group. The bulk of the rum they produce goes off to be blended into various rum brands like Captain Morgan. However, they do produce their own very high-quality premium brand which is called Monymusk. This is a blend of much older-aged rum casks. At the distillery itself, they have a variety of different stills. From column stills producing very light rum, to pot stills producing the heavier more traditional Jamaican style rum. The Monymusk rum we recently tried in the office was a nine YO and came in at 62%… It had really aged well in the tropical heat with a lot of rich nutmeg and spice flavours. These were underpinned with pineapple and tobacco leaf.  

Clarendon Estate distillery is probably the least well-known of the four Jamaican producers. This is most likely due to them making rum for a variety of other companies’ brands. However, rum’s proven its worth and its versatility as a whole has attributed to its huge market growth, which is forecast to continue over the next five years and beyond. Clarendon Estate in particular we believe is one to watch. The pot still rum they produce is excellent and in our opinion, is well worth adding to any rum cask portfolio.

We currently have 2007 Clarendon Estate barrels on our stock list. To find out more about Rum Cask Investment, contact The Masters today!

Speyside Distillery Focus

Speyside Distillery Focus

Nestled inside the magnificent Cairngorm National Park is the Speyside distillery. Opened in 1990 Speyside distillery didn’t show up on anybody’s radar until the new owners took over in 2012. Since then they have released some very exciting expressions. From a 12/18 & 27 YO to 12 YO peated cask and a 12yr port cask. However, what investors should certainly pay close attention to are their three cask strength versions. Tenne (Port finish), Trutina (Bourbon), and Fumare (Peated – Bourbon cask). These expressions will tell you how well this whisky ages in the cask.

Speyside Distillery

Recently we introduced an opportunity for investors to purchase what we called The Cask Trade Trilogy. This consists of three casks of Speyside new-make spirit aged in three different casks. To view Sir Colin Hampden-White and Phil Huckle taste indicative samples of the tasty trio click here. Speyside distillery really is producing some fantastic liquid!

The distillery is currently producing about 600,000 litres per year with a fermentation time of between 70-120hrs. We would describe their whisky as quite light in style but with a wonderful depth of flavour. Brand Executive Phil’s tasting notes when trying their bourbon cask talked of lots of floral, honey, citrus and grassy notes.

Branded SPEY Casks

From an investor’s point of view, not only is Speyside a rising star that is bound to surprise people in the future, but it is incredible value for money. Also, it is becoming increasingly popular in the all-important Asian market and right now is already very popular in Taiwan. We can’t recommend this distillery enough!

If you’re interested and want to find out more, get in touch today.

Cooley Irish Whiskey Distillery Focus

Cooley Irish Whiskey Distillery Focus

Phil Huckle

The Irish weren’t very lucky when it came to whiskey in the early part of the 20th century. From having a dominant position over their Scottish cousins it all quickly unraveled thanks to US Prohibition. They gained independence but were then hit with huge tariffs for the British Empire market; the surprisingly very strong temperance movement in their own domestic market. In a short space of time, Ireland went from around 200 distilleries down to three. Finally, the comeback is well and truly on and Cooley Irish Whiskey can be proud of the part they played in this.

In 1985 John Teeling bought a state-owned potato schnapps (a joke here would just be too easy). He converted it into Ireland’s first new whiskey distillery in over 100 years. Early on they decided to innovate and break from the standard way of doing things. The release of a peated malt was actually quite controversial at the time as that was considered Scottish territory. However, Teeling said why shouldn’t we challenge the Scots on their own turf as clearly, peated whisky was very popular.

Cooley Grain and Single Malt Samples

The distillery itself is located just south of the border in County Louth. They actually in effect have two distilleries in one as they also produce grain whiskey for their blends. Current production is up to around 650,000 litres for their Malt with two pot stills operating. Most of the aging’s done in first-fill bourbon casks but they do use sherry, port, and Madeira cask finishes. Some of Cooley’s current products are gaining in sales and very positive reviews. These include their Kilbeggan Blend, their Connemara Peated Malt, and of course the Tyrconnell Single Malt.

Recently they were bought by the Japanese company Suntory, which has seemingly only helped them go from strength to strength.

A little dram

From an investor point of view, it is clear that Irish Whiskey is on a strong upward trajectory, and evidence of this is recent global sales and the number of new distilleries opening/being built. This is a very good time to add Cooley Irish Whiskey to your portfolio; with Cooley, you have a producer with an already very strong track record, with a loyal growing following (especially in the all-important US market) and who make great whiskey. We have Irish Whiskey on our current stock list so get in touch and let’s talk Whiskey!

To find out more about Irish Whiskey Investment, contact The Masters today!