Meet the Masters – Conor Strang

Meet the Masters – Conor Strang

Conor enjoying a festive dram

It all started with a Glengoyne Whisky and Chocolate tour for our Operations Manager Conor, and from then he’s never looked back…

How long have you worked for Cask Trade?
I’ve been with the company since June 2020.

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?
I’m actually half Scottish and tend to head back to my roots most years. One summer I went to visit Glengoyne and took the Whisky and Chocolate tasting tour. It was marvellous; from then on, my passion for whisky was well and truly ignited! When I got home, I straight away went online to purchase a few bottles, and my collection thus grew from there.

What are your top three favourite whiskies and why?
1. Clynelish – I like the fact that it bears plenty of orchard fruit plus loads of waxiness, which is my favourite flavour in whisky. Also, it’s from a coastal Highland distillery which I usually enjoy.
2. Springbank – They’re traditional and still do everything the old fashion way. They make three different types of whisky and all are fantastic!
3. Ben Nevis – Rich and fruity, they are one of the most distinctive and characterful whiskies currently being made in Scotland.

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of whisky are the most important for you?
As I said I love waxy whiskies, which can usually be found in older whiskies from the early ‘80s and even older, but are also in Clynelish and Springbank as well as some Speysides like Glenlossie. I also enjoy notes of tropical fruit that can be discovered in older Irish whisky and some Islays, particularly Bowmore.
I have a penchant for rich, baked fruits flavours like apple crumble which you can often find in bourbon-matured Speyside, or Highland whiskies like Braevel and Clynelish.

 Your favourite whisky cocktail?
I am partial to either a Bobby Burns or a Sazerac.

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
If it’s young or the ABV is over 50% I will often add water, whereas if it’s older or below 50% I will drink neat. I nearly always try water with every whisky as in the end it always depends on the whisky and how it changes with water.

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
I love being the interface between the whisky trade and private investors. I enjoy being able to deal with bottlers that I already buy bottles from, so now I can buy bottles from casks I’ve sold. It’s a delight to work with passionate whisky fans and investors, and being able to assist them in buying casks from their favourite distilleries.

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?
Apart from the fact that it is the best performing alternative asset, you can’t visit and taste your stocks and shares… Why invest in something that makes money behind the scenes, when you can invest in something that makes more money and also gives you pleasure?

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!

We Know Our Way Around a Blend…

We Know Our Way Around a Blend…

Enjoying a blended whisky

Blended Whisky accounts for over 90% of Scotch. Almost every Scotch whisky distillery, including most of your favourite malts, sends the majority of their spirit for blending. Many single malt enthusiasts associate blended whisky with popular brands such as Famous Grouse, Bells and Grants. There’s a whole world of interesting blended Scotch out there waiting to be discovered!

The blends we have to offer are available in single casks. Comprised of a base of delicate sweet grain whisky with dressings of single malts, they are chosen for their distillery flavour profiles in order to create the most rounded and balanced spirit possible. After over 20 years of these complex single malts and grain maturing together, the flavours become far more unified than they would in a normal blend.

While the focus over the last few years has been on single malts, the industry is starting to see a rise in the popularity of independent blends. Whisky enthusiasts across the world have welcomed the return of a quality blended Scotch. The shift away from single malts, their artisanal nature and value for money has given blends a following among the younger generations. A famous name can’t sell a blend, only quality can.

These casks are now fully mature and ready for bottling. They’re ideal for an independent bottler who’s looking to do something different. Or, simply for someone who wants to bottle and outstanding whisky.

To find out more about what blended whiskies we have in stock, contact the team today and let’s talk whisky!

Meet the Masters – Sir Colin Hampden-White ‘The Keeper’

Meet the Masters – Sir Colin Hampden-White ‘The Keeper’

Colin headshot

The Three Drinkers star, Cask Trade’s Non-Executive Director and fellow Whisky enthusiast Sir Colin Hampden-White sits down for a dram to discuss his love for all things Scotch.

How long have you worked for Cask Trade?
Since January 2019.

What first kick-started your passion for Whisky?
I vividly remember being given a dram by a gamekeeper on a freezing cold shoot in Scotland when I was about 15 or so. 

What are your top three favourite whiskies and why?
1. Johnnie Walker black label: The great all-rounder.
2. Mortlach 75 -year-old. The best whisky experience I have had at Edinburgh Castle.
3. At the moment I am enjoying 100% rye whiskey from all over the world. Especially Kyro from Finland.

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of whisky are the most important for you?
I really like a little linseed oil, dried apricots and fresh tropical fruits.

Which is your “holy grail” whisky? What’s THE bottle you want to own in your lifetime?
A bottle of Malt Mill.

Your favourite whisky cocktail?
It has to be the classic Old Fashioned.

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
Honestly, it depends on the whisky. For something old and delicate probably without, young, cask strength and vivacious probably with.

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
My two favorite things about Cask Trade are the people and the transparency. What you see is what you get with us, there’s no smoke and mirrors. This is important when it comes to whisky investment.

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?
Whisky casks are able to take you on an emotional journey as well as a profitable one.

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!

Myriam’s Whisky Wanderings

Myriam’s Whisky Wanderings

It’s been a while since I’d returned to Speyside, and my autumn trip to whisky country certainly did not disappoint! What a glorious season to visit some iconic distilleries nestled among the beautiful landscapes and the River Spey. Of course, there are not only distilleries to visit in this region, but also some serious whisky shops and world-renowned whisky bars.

Strathisla distillery

The first stop was Strathisla, the oldest licensed distillery in the highlands founded in 1786, and arguably the most picturesque distillery in Scotland. (I may be slightly biased, but it has been noted by the odd whisky publication or two…). Known as one of the main components of the Chivas Regal blend, Strathisla is also regularly seen as a fruity and sherry-rich 12-year-old single malt. We had a superb Strathisla 2009 barrel in stock which was sold to Hong Kong just last week!

Glen Keith distillery

Next up, Glen Keith – a sister distillery a stone’s throw away from Strathisla, also owned by Chivas Brothers. Glen Keith distillery has been at the forefront of innovation thanks to its key role in distilling trials. This has produced a variety of whisky styles for the Chivas portfolio. Among our new arrivals, we have a parcel of Glen Keith casks distilled in 1997, just a couple of years before the distillery ceased production for over a decade. These casks give a rare insight into a historic whisky style produced by Glen Keith distillery.

Aberlour distillery

Distillery tour number three was Aberlour, another gem and hugely popular whisky – this distillery is one to watch. They have also recently submitted planning for an upgrade which will see a doubling of their production capacity. Known for their core range 12, 16 and 18-year-old expressions matured in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry, I’m a particular fan of their cask-strength whiskies matured in ex-Oloroso casks; without hesitation I scooped up a bottle of Aberlour a’bunadh from their visitor centre! Keep an eye on our stocklist for some Aberlour casks coming soon!

While in the town of Aberlour, one cannot resist a visit to the Dowan’s Hotel. Both establishments have an impressive collection of whiskies. If you need a pit stop between the Dowan’s, there is more whisky temptation at the Speyside Whisky Shop. They specialise in rare and collectible malts.

Macallan distillery

Last but certainly not least I had a stroll through Macallan, which rounded off the trip nicely. As if their signature sherry cask matured whisky was not legendary enough, Macallan has since rebuilt their visitor center and expanded the distillery in a stunning feat of elegant architecture. Sadly for us, Macallan stopped selling privately in the mid 90’s so casks of Macallan are few and far between. If you want to taste old Macallan it’s best to drink it straight from the source, or at The Craigellachie Hotel and Highlander Inn which are just down the road from the distillery. Combined, these world-famous whisky bars boast a selection of well over 1,000 whiskies!

Slàinte,

Myriam

Meet the Masters – Josh ‘Woody’ Wood

Meet the Masters – Josh ‘Woody’ Wood

 

Whisky Woody

Josh, one of our newest Sales & Marketing Executive Managers tells us about his enthralling Whisky journey, and how it all started with the humble ‘Jack and Coke’…

How long have you worked for Cask Trade?

Since September 2020.

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?
Shortly after I turned 18 I was in the pub with a friend of mine who knew I enjoyed ‘Jack and Coke’ and offered to teach me about enjoying Scotch served neat. It was a good lesson and I’ve been doing continuous ‘homework’ ever since! 

What are your top three favourite Scotch whiskies and why?
I have quite an eclectic palate! Bowmore 15 was the first ‘proper’ Whisky I enjoyed and it still holds a special place in my heart. Pound for pound my favourite ‘Daily Dram’ is Johnnie Walker Green Label and the variants, and for something special it would be a draw between Glenury Royal and Lochside – I love the history of lost distilleries but naturally knowing they’re gone makes drinking the whisky bittersweet.

What are your top three favourite World whiskies and why?
Chchibu On The way 2015, Stauning’s Young Danish Rye 2016, and Red Breast 12. I find all three very, very distinct in extremely different ways and encountered them all a few years ago when I decided I wanted to try some different whiskies for a change. 

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of whisky are the most important for you?
I enjoy both sweet and savoury flavours, depending on my mood. When choosing a whisky it’ll depend if I’m pairing it with something, what I’ve eaten before, and even the climate and time of year, as well as what I’m doing when I drink it.
People tend to laugh at how long I ‘nose’ a whisky for because I enjoy the aromas so much. I often get asked if I prefer smelling a whisky or tasting it but I haven’t worked out the answer yet! 

Your favourite whisky cocktail?
Perfect Manhattan, hands down.

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
Usually cask strength but I have lots of whiskies bottled at ‘forty-something’ which I enjoy. It’s very rare that I prefer whisky with water added to what comes out the bottle and I absolutely never add ice!

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
I’m surrounded by a great group of colleagues and incredible whisky which I get to share with enthusiasts all over the world. Cask Investment is an extremely exciting field and I enjoy being able to work for a Stockist and not a Broker. 

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?
With interest rates and property yields low (and traditional investments highly volatile), this is the perfect time to move into Alternative Assets. Only wine and whisky appreciate in a linear fashion, and by buying a cask (kept in a warehouse for under £50 per year) you needn’t worry about storage (unlike bottles).
The Scotch Whisky Boom shows no signs of abating with increased demand from emerging markets depleting stocks of quality aged single malt, which will continue to increase the value of maturing casks. Tasting your maturing whisky each year whilst your cask appreciates is a fun bonus on top!

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!

Ten Reasons to Invest in Cask Whisky

Ten Reasons to Invest in Cask Whisky

 

Is older whisky better than younger whisky?

  1. Whisky is a top-performing luxury investment and far outstrips the more established alternative asset investments such as art, wine and cars. Estimated accumulative short-term returns of 40%, medium-term of 80%, and long term 140%.
  2. Each cask is unique and only a limited number are available. No two casks will ever be the same.
  3. Time is on your side as whisky only matures in the cask. The more mature it gets the more valuable it becomes.
  4. There is no index or quoted market for whisky casks as each one is different.
  5. Cask Trade provides Complete transparency; we buy each cask first and all the paperwork, location and health of the cask is verified before it ever makes it onto the stock list.
  6. Trusted marketplace – Buyers can take Cask Trade’s WOWGR number, go to the warehouse and confirm the cask exists. Bonded warehouses check-in each cask and perform a ‘dip’ test to measure the level of alcohol. Every year, they are required to report to HMRC how many casks they have and the level of alcohol. Casks cannot be faked or fabricated.
  7. Casks are safer than storing bottles, so the only thing stealing your whisky is the angels!
  8. Whisky is a delicious asset and casks are a physical, tangible asset that you own. You can sample them, trade them or even bottle them!
  9. Investment Realisation: Cask Trade’s multiple exit strategies and global client base ensures a hassle-free exit from your investment.
  10. Cask Trade will arrange for clients to receive samples of their whiskies and visit their barrels(s), upon request, wherever possible.

Meet the Masters – Myriam Mackenzie

Meet the Masters – Myriam Mackenzie

 

Myriam's 'on the nose' when it comes to knowing her whisky...

Myriam’s ‘on the nose’ when it comes to knowing her whisky; in the latest edition of our ‘Meet the Masters’ series we’re focusing on one of our Sales & Marketing Executive Managers Myriam Mackenzie, who certainly knows her way around a cask!

How long have you worked for Cask Trade?
Two months, but I’ve been working in whisky as a full time career coming up to seven years!

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?
I grew up in the whisky region of Speyside with the iconic Strathisla Distillery quite literally on my doorstep! I actually first started working in whisky as a distillery tour guide when I was 18 at Glenfiddich distillery.
What attracted me to the whisky world is how internationally recognised Scotch whisky is, and how it opens doors to meeting people from so many different backgrounds and countries.
It was always inspiring to see visitors from all over the world visiting the local distilleries and appreciating their passion and love for Scotch whisky. It’s a really close knit industry full of history, amazing people and expertly crafted products.

What are your top three favourite whiskies and why?
1. Bowmore 1966 40 Year Old bottling by Duncan Taylor; one of the most tropical and memorable whiskies I’ve ever come across. I tried this at Sukhinder’s Old & Rare Show and it tastes like picking a ripe mango straight from the tree!
2. Rosebank 21 Year Old, The Roses Series, Innocence bottling by Elixir Distillers. Another tropical whisky and one of my all time favourites, which was bottled during my time at Elixir Distillers. Rosebank distillery is one of those long lost gems of the whisky industry – it is a really special whisky with notes of apricots and exotic flowers.

3. Springbank 1993 single cask. We just sold a cask of this last month and I thought it was absolutely gorgeous. Notes of stone fruits, peaches, sweet nectarines; basically another tropical paradise whisky!

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of whisky are the most important for you?
I love the older whiskies matured in bourbon casks and packed with notes of tropical and stone fruits. Glenburgie is another great example of this type of flavour profile – which you can find various independent bottlings of – notably Signatory and Single Malts of Scotland.
The other flavour profiles I love are the dried fruits and spice you get from full on ‘sherrybombs’. I love a sherried Bunnahabhain, Aberlour A’Bunnadh or Glendronach, particularly the Glendronach 18 year old Allardice which is a ‘go-to’ whisky for me. Super fruity and indulgent, like black forest gateau with layers of cherries, stewed plums, prunes, blackberries and figs.
I enjoy lots of viscosity; chewy or oily whiskies are particularly memorable for me and aspects which I look for in general. I like to have a whisky I can sit with for hours.

Your favourite whisky cocktail?
An Old Fashioned, preferably sipped in a whisky bar in Tokyo! I’ve never had an old fashioned that beats the expertise of the Japanese bartenders!

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
I prefer to try the whisky straight and thereafter add a drop of water to open up the aromas and flavours.

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
I love the diversity of working with all types of single casks from over 60 distilleries. We are a small team of experts, all in love with whisky, with a rare privilege of being able to taste so many incredible whiskies from all over Scotland.
Every week we are buying stock and thanks to being so closely connected to the trade, we see such a diversity of casks coming from independent bottlers, blenders and private individuals as well as from the distilleries themselves.
We have no limitations of selling a brand or official bottling, it’s all about the quality of each individual cask and about offering a constantly evolving range of whiskies to our customers.

Cask Trade as a business is super flexible and we are very open minded; if a customer wants to sample, regauge, rerack or bottle their cask, we offer this service.
Whether you’re an investor looking at casks to sell and make a profit, a bottler or even an enthusiast looking for a unique cask to sell as a finished product,  we can look after the entire life cycle of a cask, making your journey memorable and fun.
We sell whisky for everyone; we cater for all budgets, with superb quality whisky starting from under £2k per cask, including old & rare casks which are globally sought after by independent bottlers and private investors.
We’ve had casks of Ardbeg from the ’80s, Bowmores and Glenlivets from the ’70s, Springbank from the 90s; we are privileged to have a truly unique list of casks which very few traders in the world could even dream of owning!

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?
It’s a journey unlike anything else. Whisky is one of the few assets that appreciates in value with age; it’s a tangible commodity with real history and provenance. Scotch whisky is shipped to over 200 markets worldwide so the supply and demand element is huge for a small country like Scotland, with a population of five million and approx. 120 distilleries!
For those who drink whisky, it’s an investment which allows you to make a profit from a passion – you can even sample and visit your own cask. For those who are interested in whisky investment from a financial perspective, you can invest in a cask and sell it on again in five, 10 and 15 plus years and make a profit, with legitimate exit strategies as independent bottlers, collectors and enthusiasts.

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!

Meet the Masters – James Russell

Meet the Masters – James Russell

 

James on his boat, whisky in hand, in his natural habitat

We’re cordially inviting you to ‘Meet the Masters’ in our latest blog series to highlight why we’re truly the Masters of Whisky Appreciation. We’ll be delving into the minds of the people behind the casks, and finding out what fills their drams. Without further ado let’s talk Whisky!

James our Sales Manager and resident ‘Protégé’ gives us the lowdown on all things scotch and why he thinks Cask Trade is worth its weight in whisky.

How long have you worked for Cask Trade?
I’ve worked for Cask Trade from the beginning – coming up to two years!

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?
Regular holidays to the Scottish Highlands – Glen Ord was the local distillery.

What are your top three favourite whiskies and why?
For everyday drinking, the Ben Nevis Traditional. It’s the ultimate ‘fireside’ whisky. Next up – something a little different; a most stunning single cask of Springbank  1993. It is the most vibrant Scotch I’ve ever tasted in my life. Finally, I’d have to go with a St Magdelene for pure complexity and balance – pure elegance.

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of whisky are the most important for you?
I personally love orange peel, toffee and earthy peat smoke.

Your favourite whisky cocktail?
Old Fashioned, but made my way. Lightly peated Scotch Whisky, muscovado, angostura, stirred and served straight up in a chilled tumber with a twist of orange peel.

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
It depends, how many are we having? 😉

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
I really like the small, friendly and close-knit team of dedicated whisky professionals who all share the same passion.

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!

Discovering Glenrothes Distillery

Discovering Glenrothes Distillery

Glenrothes distillery (Glen-roth-ess, From ‘Gleann Rathais’, Rothes Valley), Macallan’s sister distillery, is built a short distance away in the picturesque Speyside town of Rothes. While it is not as well known, Glenrothes’ spirit is richer and more complex, and is aged in the same famous sherry casks as its illustrious relative. It is little wonder that Glenrothes is quickly becoming noticed by investors and independent bottlers alike, and prices have been rising very quickly.

A richly flavoured and complex malt, Glenrothes is a colourful Speyside distillery that ages the majority of its whiskies in large sherry butts. Due to its artisanal character, Glenrothes has developed a dedicated following, especially in east Asia where rich, sherried whiskies are in great demand.

Glenrothes bulbs

The distillery was built in 1878 by James Stuart & Co, who then also ran the nearby Macallan distillery. For the first 50 years, Glenrothes was hampered by a series of unfortunate events. The first whisky ran off the stills on the 28 December 1879, the same day as the Tay Bridge disaster.

Over-proof whisky is notoriously highly flammable, and at 100% proof, the distillery paid the price. Extension work began in 1896, but before the work was finished, a fire in December 1897 caused serious damage. The distillery saw further damage when a violent explosion shook Glenrothes in 1903.

Inside a cask

Then, in 1922, another fire in Warehouse Number One caused the loss of 910,000 L of whisky. The final fire in 1962 afforded the opportunity for expansion, and a further re-build in 1982 extended the still hall to five wash stills and five spirit stills.

Today, Glenrothes is part of the Edrington Group.

These incredible casks yield a huge number of bottles and can be bottled from 12 years upwards to 40 years. People often buy them after our client sells them and hang on for the next stage of their life. They can either change hands a number of times or be kept for the next generation before bottling. Ex-sherry barrels are an important component of any investment portfolio. We’ve got plenty of Glenrothes currently in stock!

Call our friendly team today on 0203 7463030 and let’s talk Glenrothes!

Glenrothes cask

Cask Trade’s Cask Crusade

Cask Trade’s Cask Crusade

Bonnie Edinburgh

When it comes to whisky you can never know too much; this is something Simon and Lee discovered whilst on their recent research trip to bonnie Edinburgh last week.

The excitement was palpable as they embarked on their whisky research trip with the intention of meeting with suppliers, blenders and warehouse keepers, as well as investigating bottling facilities and general cask management.

Whilst in Scotch-land they had the privilege of meeting with Master Distillers whose Whisky wisdom knew no bounds. The knowledge gained throughout the trip was bountiful!

There’s something special about being able to visit the distilleries and quality check the casks personally. Simon and Lee wasted no time in moving about the warehouses, regauging, re-racking and sampling as they went. Research shows that if it doesn’t need moving and can be monitored where it is, leave it be!

Following an untraditional lunch of haggis-flavoured spring rolls, bonbons and crisps they headed for the trip’s most exciting part; to welcome the delivery of their container holding individually selected sherry casks, shipped in specially from Spain. Simon said,

“This trip was really eye-opening for us. Usually we would re-rack using suppliers’ casks, but this time we purchased a container of sherry casks we’d personally selected. Let me tell you, the initial aroma just as the container doors opened was delightfully sweet; they don’t call them ‘juicy’ casks for nothing! A quantity of the original liquid still remains and continues to coat the inside in preparation for the whisky. This adds a delectable depth of flavour.”

Lee and the ginormous 600l cask

All casks are fresh sherry casks (except the Moscatel, which contained dessert wine) of various types, ranging from delicious Palo Cortado and Manzanilla butts, to Oloroso and Amontillado, PX Oloroso and even a ginormous 600 litre Moscatel puncheon (see above photo of Lee for scale)!

“Some casks are already set to be re-racked this week. A great feature we found was that each individual one has its own identification sticker that’s preprogramed in blockchain to show the details of the cask; including what type of liquid it previously contained, which bodega the sherry came from as well as lots of other interesting details.
The sticker is read via a secure app and is only accessible when the phone is held next to it. It’s very useful and very cool! We are so impressed with the haul we’ve ordered another container that’s due to arrive in November.”

At Cask Trade we ensure all our casks are good quality and we take considerable care at all stages of the procurement, from collection (one by one), to individually wrapping and pressure testing. All casks are aged, not seasoned.

Upon returning to the rest of the team on Monday, Simon reassured us that we would not go without and that we could expect to see some special bottles gracing the office shelves very soon… Slàinte Mhath!

Download the Cask Investment Guide and let’s talk whisky!