Women in Whisky – Lauren Mustard, William Grant & Sons

Women in Whisky – Lauren Mustard, William Grant & Sons

Lauren Mustard


As we continue on our Women in Whisky journey, this week we spoke to VIP Ambassador Lauren Mustard. With over 12 years in the industry and a background in working for the legendary Spirit of Speyside Festival, we were keen to find out what fills her dram…

Where are you from originally?

Speyside, a small place in the country called Mosstowie.

What is your current role/ title/ company you work for? 

Dufftown Distilleries & VIP Ambassador, William Grant & Sons.

How many years in the industry? How did you get started?

12 years now. I started out as a tour guide at Glenfiddich when I turned 18 and did many summer seasons whilst I was at university. I went on to work at Macallan for a few months before starting the International Brand Ambassador graduate programme with Chivas Brothers, based in London. That took me back to Speyside in 2017 and on to working for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Now I’m back where it all began!

Do you have any female mentors that helped you on the way?

I would say many! Ann Miller in particular.

Have you noticed more women drinking whisky in general (maybe amongst your friends for example)?

Yes I think so. More than when I first started working in whisky!

What is your desert island dram?

Balvenie DoubleWood 17.

What is your favourite whisky under £40 per bottle?

Can I choose Glenfiddich 15? It’s a little over £40 but can be found for under £40 sometimes!

What is your favourite whisky, money no object?

That’s a tricky one… Can we say availability no object too? The Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix would be my choice

Do you gravitate towards whiskies aged in certain casks?

Hmm I thought I did but over the last few years I’ve found myself on a more level playing field when it comes to that. Some whiskies have taken me by surprise – some pleasantly and some not so! 

Looking into your crystal ball where do you see Scotch whisky in 5/10 years?

Continued experimentation and innovation with both whisky and whisky-related experiences. Looking after the advocates we already have and capturing those that are yet to venture into the world of whisky! We are all ambassadors for Scotch whisky and the community is one of the best things about it. I hope that continues to grow and develop. 

Any advice for women wanting to start out and forge a career in Scotch whisky?

Firstly, go for it. Secondly, reach out to others. I’m sure I speak on behalf of many other women in the industry when I say we’d be happy to help where we can and would be delighted to offer advice!

At Cask Trade our female Masters all certainly know their way around a whisky cask. If you want to find out more about adding whisky to your investment portfolio, get in touch and let’s talk whisky!

Breaking News: Cask Trade Opens In Asia

Breaking News: Cask Trade Opens In Asia

 

We are delighted to announce Cask Trade Ltd has opened an office in Hong Kong servicing the whole of Asia.

We have seen an increasing demand for cask whisky from the East. Cask Trade are very excited to showcase our unmatched inventory to our existing and new clients in Asia.

For the first time, bottlers, investors and avid whisky enthusiasts in Asia will be able to buy casks at UK prices. The prices are significantly lower than anyone has been used to, and with the same seamless service afforded to hundreds of our UK investors and bottlers.

Director of Cask Trade HK, Sir Colin Hampden-White, says: “For many years I have had the pleasure of helping customers from all over Asia who appreciate cask strength whisky to taste and purchase,” says Hampden-White who is a Keeper of the Quaich, who adds: “I’m very excited Cask Trade is opening an office in Hong Kong. I can personally host tastings and be a part of our customer’s journey in selecting and buying cask whisky.”

Cask Trade Hong Kong Office

Masters of whisky appreciation
Managing Director of Cask Trade, Simon Aron, says the opportunity for growth in Asia is unprecedented. We have seen a 25% increase of our existing business in Asia already. We expect to see further increase of a minimum of 25% in sales for the entire business. This is achieved by having a physical presence in the region.
“By opening in Hong Kong, we are addressing a demand from existing and potential customers throughout Asia. We’re offering direct access to casks for whatever purpose, at competitive UK prices with complete transparency and a seamless service.” Says Aron, who adds: “Our company is all about an authentic marketplace for buying and selling casks of whisky. We have multiple exit strategies, including our online auction for casks. Auctionyourcask.com. We want to supply all bottlers, investors and of course, whisky lovers! I think the Asian market will be both surprised and delighted with our competitive prices.”

The new office based in the Admiralty District of Hong Kong will be headed up by John Wong.

John is a self-confessed whisky geek. He says, whilst the whisky scene is relatively new in the region, the level of expertise, passion and enthusiasm’s remarkable.

Drinkers from Greater China and Asia-Pacific are always seeking a diverse range of taste and flavour profiles in whisky. They look for rarity and investment opportunities with stories behind the liquid. With me on the ground in Hong Kong, I can immerse myself into the whisky community. There is nothing better than meeting face to face with a dram in your hand.” Says Wong, who explains the demand isn’t just coming from Hong Kong. “The East Asian market is unique. Our highly skilled and educated customers like to discuss whisky and learn from each other. It’s so much more than just buying and selling. We are embarking on a journey together.”

John Wong, Sales Director for HK

Whisky investment done properly

We are proud to own one of the largest and varied stock lists anywhere in the world. Our team sample, taste, health check every cask and only sell stock that we own. We hold all our own insurances and licenses and are not affiliated to any third party. Cask Trade HK enjoys all of the relevant licenses direct with the UK. This includes all of the UK HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) licenses required to trade, store and bottle whisky (WOWGR, AWRS and Duty Representative).

With our new business in Hong Kong we are looking to build a reputation as the go-to cask company in Asia. The aim is to mirror what we have achieved in the UK.

Whisky on the rise in Asia
According to the Euromonitor report, by 2022 the value of whisky sales in China is expected to reach £2.2 billion (approx). This is 38.6% more than in 2018 and the volume of whisky sales is to reach 23.65 billion litres.

Direct exports increased from around £1.4 million in 2000 to around £89 million in 2019. This resulted in reaching an annual growth rate of over 24% (CAGR 2000-2019). Around 25 bottles of Scotch whisky are exported to China every minute.

We encourage our Asian customers to follow us on WeChat. Stay up-to-date with our Hong Kong acitivities.

Water of Life, by the Water – Josh’s Whisky Wanderings

Water of Life, by the Water – Josh’s Whisky Wanderings

 

Josh exploring Scottish distilleries

I’m not sure Hemingway ever actually said ‘Write Drunk, Edit Sober’, but I must confess most of my (strictly amateur) fiction writing has been its strongest when inspired by a strong dram. I think it was inevitable that when I organised my first ‘Writing Week’ in 2017 (now an annual event) that the words would flow as the whisky flowed – and that I’d save rereading anything back until armed with a coffee the next morning.

My first trip grew out of a desire to see if I could write a book, rather than just loudly proclaiming after a few whiskies that I wanted to write a book. I wanted to find somewhere completely separate to my daily life in South-East England, but still somewhere I could speak the language, with a nice writing desk with a view of some water, and ideally a host sympathetic to me enjoying a cigar or two whilst typing away. Needless to say, there weren’t many places that offered it all!

Views from the Air B&B

Sometimes, though, the stories of our lives have a funny way of writing themselves, and so it was that I found the B&B in Aberdour, Fife, that would become my annual base, hosted by Celia who quickly became a lifelong friend. I started each day with a walk around the water, had a large breakfast, and usually lit my first cigar around 9:30 am. I’d write solidly throughout, working the same hours on my passion project that I worked on my career back in London, pausing occasionally to appreciate the crashing of the waves or to see if the weather was allowing me to see Edinburgh across the water (30 minutes by train) or restricting my vision to the end of the garden – usually both several times each day.

Johnnie Walker

I’d start pouring Whisky straight after lunch and usually wrote most in the afternoons – a dram at 2 pm, another at 6 pm, and a double after dinner, was usually my rule. My first year I bought a bottle of Glen Scotia Double Wood and used it to complete the first draft of my first novella, in 2018 a bottle of Johnnie Walker 18 helped me write a small collection of short stories, and in 2019 I wrote my second novella with a bottle of Dalmore Cigar Malt. I switched the Whisky up a bit in 2020 (writing the first four episodes of my first Sitcom) and 2021 (back to short stories) and took an array of miniatures and sample bottles filled with different drams for each day.

Perhaps reflective of my good fortune to move into the Whisky Industry in my Professional Life this last trip certainly featured the most impressive liquid.  From my case of miniatures the highlight was undoubtedly a Sherried Springbank from 1992 (my birth year!) – a very kind gift from Sir Colin Hampden-White, which I paired with a special cigar gifted to me by Simon. It seemed fitting as Springbank is his favourite distillery!

Josh's trip staples

Usually on these trips I scarcely look up from my writing desk, but with Celia selling up and retiring I knew this would be my last time in Aberdour and added on a couple of days to try to explore a little more of Scotland. On the Friday I ventured into Edinburgh and very quickly broke my ‘no new Whisky bottles until after moving house’ rule (I blame Cadenheads…) so felt it was safer to dive into Sandy Bells and start buying by the Dram again. I was blown away by a Single Cask Aberfeldy but the real star of the show was the Port Charlotte Valinch which I can still taste now and frankly haven’t shut up about since!

On the Saturday I visited my friend Colin Campbell, who took me to my first Whisky show some years ago and who ultimately is responsible for turning my interest in Whisky into a fully-fledged lifelong passion. Colin and I haven’t seen each other since he moved back to Scotland last year so there was much catching up to do, and naturally a visit to Deanston Distillery was essential! We had an incredible time in the Warehouse 4 Tasting Experience, and my favourite Whisky was actually the first one we tried – a 2013 Refill Bourbon Barrel. It was lovely to find this often overlooked Cask Type being allowed to sing and really let the character of the distillery shine through.

Deanston Distillery

Once again I broke my ‘no more bottles’ rule in the gift shop (oops), although I suppose now everybody knows my enthusiasm for the Deanston Barrels on our stocklist is coming from first-hand experience! Colin and I later made a list of all the distilleries we want to visit in Scotland (basically, a list of all the distilleries in Scotland and a few we’re going to try to save by inventing time-travel) and once I was back to Aberdour and savouring my last view of the water I thought not only of all the time I’ve enjoyed North of the Boarder, but of how many visits I no doubt still have to come.

I don’t think I can ever really say goodbye to Aberdour or to Scotland, rather I repeat myself (as I’m prone to doing) ‘That’s me away the noo…’

Enjoying a dram

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

Women In Whisky – Dawn Davies, The Whisky Exchange

Women In Whisky – Dawn Davies, The Whisky Exchange

Dawn Davies

With over two decades working in the drinks industry under her belt, Dawn Davies certainly knows her alcohol and the way around a whisky cask. The Head Buyer at The Whisky Exchange, Master of Wine and all-around drinks guru sits down with us to talk about a subject close to her heart…

Where are you from originally?

The UK, although I grew up in the States.

 Current role / title / company you work for?

Head Buyer for Speciality Drinks/ The Whisky Exchange

 How many years in the industry / how did you get started?

 20 years and counting. I started out in restaurants as a waitress and a sommelier, working for Zuma, Gordon Ramsay, The Square, and the Ledbury. This was before joining Selfridges as their head wine and spirits buyer. Nine years later, I joined Speciality Drinks.

 Did you have any female mentors that helped you along the way? 
Absolutely – the first person who gave me a chance with wine was Nobuko Okamura. She took me under her wing and taught me so much.  Since that time, I have been fortunate enough to know so many inspiring women who have had faith in me. From Angela Hartnett to Helena Hell and many more.

 Have you noticed more women drinking whisky in recent years?

 Yes, I see it most at Whisky Show where the demographic is slowly changing and becoming more female which is fantastic to see!

 Your desert island dram? 

 Can it be a rum 😉 Clairin Sajous!

 Your favourite whisky at under £40 per bottle?

I am loving everything coming out of Loch Lomond at the moment, just for easy drinking fruitiness. 

 Favourite money no object whisky? 

Half of the whiskies in Sukhinders collection 😉

 Best distillery trip you’ve ever been on and why? 

I was lucky enough to go on the malts advocate trip with Diageo years ago with Dave Broom. He has very much been my whisky guru and has graciously, over the years, answered all my stupid questions. Traveling with him round all the distilleries was amazing.  The highlight however had to be fresh oysters from the bay drizzled with Talisker 10 at the distillery itself.

 If there is one thing you could change in the industry what would that be? 

More diversity in top roles in the industry. We are changing but far too slowly…

 What have been the major challenges in your career and what advice would you give to any young women starting out? 
This industry can and will take over your life. I have had to work insanely hard to get to where I am today, but I have been very lucky to have fallen on my feet career-wise. Work hard and be yourself.  Don’t be afraid to be strong and speak your mind. You will have to work harder and be more aggressive than your male counterparts at times but there are plenty of amazing women and men who will have your back.

Looking into your crystal ball where do you see the Scotch whisky industry in five to 10 years’ time? 

The Scotch Whisky industry is going to face some stiff competition from all these new whiskies from all over the world. It cannot rest on its laurels, it must talk to younger consumers but not dumb down its liquid.

At Cask Trade our female Masters all certainly know their way around a whisky cask. If you want to find out more about adding whisky to your investment portfolio, get in touch and let’s talk whisky!

Women In Whisky – Rachel MacDonald, Pernod Ricard

Women In Whisky – Rachel MacDonald, Pernod Ricard

 

Rachel Macdonald

For some time now women have been shaping the whisky industry, helping to mould it into the multimillion-pound powerhouse we see today. With that being said, we thought it would be important to highlight the women impacting some of the world’s biggest spirits brands.

In the first edition of our Women in Whisky series we spoke to Rachel Macdonald, who is the driving force behind the International Graduate Programme at Chivas Brothers, Pernod Ricard.

Where are you originally from?

I’m from Contin in the Highlands of Scotland.

What is your current role/ title/ company you work for?

International Graduate Programme Manager at Chivas Brothers, Pernod Ricard.

How many years in the industry? How did you get started?

I’ve been in the industry since I was 18, so 11 years now. I started as a tour guide at the Singleton of Glen Ord Distillery a few miles from where I grew up. I started with Chivas Brothers on the Graduate Programme as a brand ambassador in London and then moved to Sydney, Australia to work for the company out there.

After coming back to London and spending two and a half years working for Isle of Harris Distillery based in the Western Isles, I am now back to Chivas Brothers. I am managing the same graduate programme that really set me off on a career in the industry. We have around 40 young brand ambassadors representing Scotch whisky in 30 countries in every corner of the world.

Do you have any female mentors that helped you on the way?
Although she doesn’t work in the industry my mum grew up at whisky distilleries in Speyside and Islay. You see, my grandfather was a distiller. She was incredibly encouraging of my own little whisky journey and helping me tell a Hogshead from a Lyne Arm.
Also, my first boss Heather at Glen Ord distillery was so passionate about the industry. In fact, most of my team was and they were mostly female… And we all adored whisky! Looking back this definitely helped mould my own attitude as I knew no different. Most of the whisky drinkers I knew were women. To me, that fostered a bit of a blasé (perhaps naïve) attitude toward traditional whisky drinker stereotypes. Because in my experience they were nonsense.

Have you noticed more women drinking whisky in general (maybe amongst your friends for example)?

Yes, I think more and more women are happy to order it at a bar.

What is your desert island dram?

If I’m on a desert island I’d want something fruity, zesty and tropical to befit my setting. So maybe I’ll go for The Glenlivet Caribbean Cask which is selectively finished in ex- rum casks. This gives that classic Glenlivet Speyside fruitiness a tropical twist.

What is your favourite whisky under £40 per bottle?

Aberlour 10-Year-Old. One of the first whiskies I drunk and one of my absolute favourites.

What is your favourite ‘money’s-no-object’ whisky?

I don’t think high cost always equates to high quality, but I had one of the best whiskies I’d had last year which was a rarity. It was a Cardhu “Managers Dram” -a refill cask, 15 Years Old and Cask Strength. Of course, it was made even more special by the fact it was my grandfather who was the manager at the time and filled it in 1989!

Do you gravitate towards whiskies aged in certain casks?
By in large ex-bourbon, first and refill casks, I tend to like lighter, sweeter whiskies. That said, as a result of the recent expansion of casks permitted to mature whisky the innovation in that space has been really exciting – we have Chivas matured in Tequila casks now…my two favourite spirits colliding!

Looking into your crystal ball where do you see Scotch whisky in 5/10 years?

I think that innovation will continue to ramp up, and we will see many new whiskies fail and many take off. Scotch has to compete with bourbon and Irish whiskey who are finding favour with younger consumers. This will be about making Scotch whisky accessible and less stuffy, while still maintaining the quality credentials that permitted Scotch whisky the global fame it enjoys.

Any advice for women wanting to start out and forge a career in Scotch whisky?

Don’t stand for any nonsense. When men ask, “do you actually even like whisky?”, politely say “Yes, do you?” sounds a simple tip but it works!

At Cask Trade our female Masters all certainly know their way around a whisky cask. If you want to find out more about adding whisky to your investment portfolio, get in touch and let’s talk whisky!

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-year-old 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!

There’s Something About a Secret Speyside…

There’s Something About a Secret Speyside…

Secret Speyside samples

Psst!…Can you keep a secret?

Would you like to get your hands on secret Speyside 12-year-old whisky?

We are very excited to be able to offer a parcel of limited-edition casks from an unnamed Speyside distillery.

Secret Speyside 12-year-old

From December 2008, this special Speyside 12-year-old comes from an unnamed Speyside distillery.

What we can tell you is the cask influence on the whisky has been magnificent and it could come from any number of well-known distilleries in the region. The spirit is very good quality and really epitomizes Speyside malt whisky.

As the colour shows, it has spent 12 years in bourbon hogsheads and it has taken on a great nose and flavour.

Ready for drinking now, it will only get better with age!

Three varieties

The beauty of this whisky is the hard part is done for you. Matured in bourbon hogsheads for 12 years it has now been re-casked into three varieties. All 82 casks are now filled to the brim because the angels have already had their share.

Ideal for bottlers as well as investors who can opt to take it to 15 years (three-year hold) or an 18 years old (six-year hold). In fact, we believe it can go longer to 21 years because of the reset at 12 years.

Cask of whisky

Three cask varietals:

  1. Refill oak (hogsheads & barrels) – This will give the least oak influence, retaining the style and flavour for some time and continuing maturation much as it would have done had the casks not been vatted. It could be kept for several years and allowed to further mature. Because the whisky is ready now for drinking it can be bottled now or at any point in the future.

  2. First fill bourbon barrels – These will perhaps have the greatest influence on flavour, the bourbon barrels will add a lot of oak and vanilla flavourings. The fudge and oak spice qualities will grow with the distillate fading a little. These barrels would be great bottled anytime from 6 months – to 9 years into the future.

  3. Second fill sherry hogsheads – Having been used in the finishing process previously these casks will retain much of their ability to give flavour and colour, without completely overwhelming the spirit. We would expect these to begin to mature after 12-18 months and continue for 9+ years.

Samples of the original whisky are available to taste. These samples won’t have changed much as they were only filled in the first two weeks of March 2021.

Originally distilled at 63% ABV, now at 57.6% ABV. This is cask strength typical, classic Speyside single malt.

Available from £4,000 per cask (£37.50 per RLA).

Interested to hear more about the secret Speyside? Get back to us soon before word gets out. Shhh!

Tasting Notes

Nose:
Sweet at first with a cereal note mixed with vanilla fudge and red apple. Touches of apple skin and honeysuckle come through after a short while and sweet oak. There is very little nose prickle, and the whisky is smooth and well balanced. With a little air, there are hints of dried apricot and the vanilla fudge is joined by sponge cake. There are more savoury aromas of gorse flowers and a touch of oiliness when left to air for a while.

Palate:
Very smooth and rich on the palate for a high strength whisky. Viscous and mouth-filling with a lovely mix of sweeter vanilla, honey and floral notes with spice and a touch of chilli heat. The oak comes through towards the back of the palate and is sweet and well balanced. Some baked fruit sits through the mid-palate bringing all the components together.

Finish:
This whisky has a very long finish for a 13-year-old. Predominantly spicy with sweet toasty oak. The chilli heat persists right the way through the finish which has waves of sweet and savoury flavours until it becomes dry at the very end.

Conclusion:
A complex, rich and balanced whisky already, especially for a 12-year-old Speyside. It has a great mouthfeel and a very satisfying palate and finish. It could be bottled now and will only gain complexity in cask.

Tasting Notes by Sir Colin Hampden-White.

 

Refined Rum Revolution

Refined Rum Revolution

Yo ho ho and a cask of rum!

Rum

What is rum? Is it white, or clear, and the essential ingredient to a much-loved Mojito and Daiquiri cocktails? Is it spiced and perfect when paired with a mixer like ginger beer or coke? Or, is rum dark and best enjoyed neat?

Rum is all of these things. Its versatility is one of the reasons for huge market growth which is forecast to continue over the next five years and beyond.

Welcome to the rum revolution

Rewind 40 years or so to when the first whiskies were being put into single casks aged in different wood.

Rum is now being matured in much the same way as whisky and it’s all about the wood. Sherry butts, wine barrels and Sauternes casks are all being used to age rum. These are to be sold in individually numbered, limited edition bottles.

However, the exciting thing about rum is there is a much wider variety available from around the world. as opposed to the fantastic but small regions of Scotland. This means more choice, more flavours and much more variety; albeit cask rum is only available to buy in small quantities.

Rum is following in the footsteps of cask-strength whisky. we believe this will be an exciting journey for connoisseurs, enthusiasts and the rum-curious.

Rums roots

Rum is the oldest distilled spirit. It was first made in the Caribbean and South America, before New England, and now it’s being made and enjoyed worldwide. Craft rum is increasingly becoming a firm favourite of whisky and spirit connoisseurs. Distillers continue to drive experimentation in the category and propel premiumisation.

Independent bottlers are seeing a demand for aged rum. Consumers are getting a thirst for an exciting and extensive range of flavours and ages from around the world.

The next big thing

For more than a decade, rum has been seen by many experts as the spirit that hasn’t quite broken through. However, in the last couple of years this seems to have changed. As with whisky it takes a little time for its popularity to expand from the experts to the new cognoscenti. then in turn from them to the general public. For proof of this, one just has to look at the expansion of rum on our shop shelves.

The audience is already becoming established as more and more limited edition bottles come to market, regular rum tastings are being hosted and even auctions are taking place.

When Cask Trade started in 2018 cask rum didn’t feature on the stock list. but now it’s an important part of the portfolio because of the demand.

Investment-grade

With the ascendance of Scotch whisky well and truly established the question is, what’s next? It’s perhaps not a matter of what’s next, but rather what is going to join Scotch at the top table. With gin being a white spirit, although it is popular, there is no asset to invest in and, by nature, gin can be produced quickly and easily. There is no waiting time, and it is this waiting time that gives the opportunity for an investment.

There has been an even greater expansion in the specialist retailers. Small batch rums are frequently seen and single cask, cask strength offerings sell out very quickly in a manner very reminiscent of whisky. The difference at the moment is that there are fewer well-known rum distilleries than there are global whisky distilleries by quite some way. As the demand rises, production is going to take some time to catch up. Added to this there are, as with whisky, closed distilleries like Caroni, and cult distilleries like Hampden. The bottle auction prices of these rums have increased dramatically over the last couple of years. And so the investment opportunities become obvious. It’s not a matter of the possibility of rum being the next big thing, simply a matter of where on the curve will you get in? Welcome to the rum revolution!

So far this year, Cask Trade has invested more than £500,000 in single cask rum following a demand from independent bottlers as consumers get a taste for it.

Managing Director of Cask Trade, Simon Aron, is confident cask-strength rum will have investment value in time but, as yet, this is untested.

“If rum was to follow the same path as whisky as it gets older and rarer it should appreciate in value. It’s difficult to know if this will happen in the same way as we are really at the beginning of the market. I am confident it will appreciate with age, we just don’t know at what rate. It was the same as with whisky about 40 years ago,” says Simon, who explains Cask Trade has bought rum casks from 15 different countries. These include those in South America, Central America, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.

Wish you were here?

Top tip

Barbados is the birthplace of rum, and it’s also where you’ll find the world’s finest distillery, Foursquare. This artisanal, family-run distillery produces legendary rum with a dry, rich, spice-forward style that is simply extraordinary. Their beautiful rum is naturally more aligned with cask strength styles, so it could be an obvious investment choice.

Among the fine rum casks available on the current stock list, the 2007 barrel of Foursquare Barbados Rum stands out.

Like with everything sold by Cask Trade, all rum casks are re-gauged and tasted by our spirits masters. The rum casks purchased have traceable provenance and are stored in bonded warehouses in the UK and will finish their life aging in a more temperate climate.

All the rums available are powerful and very high ABV and can be diluted in order to produce more bottles and add to the value of the cask.

The Cask Trade team are big believers in rum in terms of the taste, variety and quality and see rum casks as an extension of the portfolio moving forward.

Could cask rum add a little spice to your investment portfolio?

Tasting notes

Cask Trade’s Keeper of the Quaich and all-round spirits expert, Sir Colin Hampden-White, has had the pleasure of sampling some of our new cask rum. Like whisky, rum differs in style and so he has grouped these together as Fruity & Sweet, Complex & Aromatic, Funky and Estery.

Fruity & Sweet

Barbados Rum 2007 (Foursquare Distillery)

Nose: Orange marmalade, orchard fruits, wildflowers, coconut water

Palate: Orange chocolate, honeysuckle, apricot jam

Guyana Rum 2010 (Diamond Distillery)

Nose: Juicy white grape gummies, kumquats, candied ginger, banana fritters

Palate: Coconut shavings, grapefruit syrup, violet candies

Trinidad Rum 2010 (T.D.L. Distillery)

Nose: Banana cake, green mangoes, vanilla and creamy

Palate: Roasted almonds, pepper, chilli chocolate, hint of beeswax

Complex & Aromatic

Belize Rum 2006 (Travellers Distillery)

Nose: Vanilla sponge cake, roasted nuts, beef stock, tar

Palate: Sweet like marshmallow, accompanied with espresso coffee and honey-roasted nuts, stewed apples

Dominican Republic Rum 2010 (Acoholes Finos Dominicanos Distillery)

Nose: Cocoa, deep-roasted coffee beans, tangy syrup, eucalyptus ointment, nutmeg

Palate: Cigar box, tobacco, maple-smoked bacon, crème brûlée

Nicaragua Rum 2000 (Compania Licorera de Nicaragua Distillery)

Nose: Warm spices, cinnamon bun, pencil shavings, old wooden furniture, meringue

Palate: Chewing tobacco, aniseed, bonfire smoke, demerara sugar

Funky & Estery

Guyana Rum 2002 (Diamond Distillery)

Nose: Fermented fruits, rosehip wine, violets, lambic beer

Palate: Candied pineapple, sugar frosting, cherry liqueur, ripe melons

Jamaica Rum 2007 (Clarendon Estate Distillery)

Nose: Floral, white grapes, bandages, ink, fresh cane juice

Palate: Dampened cloth, musty, banana fritters, quince jelly

Line 'em up...

Newsflash

New to the price list:

 2010 Mauritius Rum from La Bourdonnaise Distillery in sherry butt

2013 Reunion Rum from Savanna Distillery in red wine barrels

2006 and 2010 Barbados Rum from Foursquare Distillery in Sauternes barrels

To find out more about Rum Cask Investment, contact The Masters today!

Simon & Lee’s Whisky Wanderings

Simon & Lee’s Whisky Wanderings


Lee & Simon at Speyside Distillery

Yesterday Phil Huckle, our newly-appointed intrepid reporter finally managed to sit down for a few minutes with MD Simon Aron. They discussed his recent trip to Scotland with fellow director Lee Tomlinson.

PhilSimon thanks for finding the time to finally sit down and discuss your trip.

Simon: You’re very welcome.

Phil: Right first question. How was Scotland? You were away for a week

Simon: Of course, the trip was incredibly enjoyable. We went for three very important reasons. First, to visit our partners and suppliers who pre pandemic we were visiting nearly every month or two. Unfortunately, we had not been able to see them since September /October last year. I cannot emphasise enough how good relations with these people are so fundamental to our continued success. I might send you one day…!

Phil: I thought I was going to visit our rum suppliers in the Caribbean as that is such an expanding part of our business?

Simon: Me too! Secondly, we went to see three organisations which are building warehouses. There is a real shortage in Scotland right now.

Phil: I didn’t know that.

Simon: Yes, and they are not easy to build as well as there are a lot of planning regulations, health and safety rules and of course the involvement with HMRC. 

Phil: And thirdly?

Simon: We also went to view some bottling plants. We want to help our customers with a faster more seamless bottling process. Customer service in terms of what we offer, and the efficiency of our processes is at the heart of everything we do.

 Phil: So where did you visit in Speyside?

Speyside Distillery Stills

Simon: It was fantastic to visit the Speyside distillery who provide the Trilogy Series for us. They have a wonderful operation producing very high-quality liquid. Of course, it was also lovely to meet all the staff there. It was interesting to find out that their fermentation time is 120 hrs which is very long compared to the average of many other distilleries. This we think leads to the quick maturation in the cask. The whisky tastes amazing even at just three years old.

 The backdrop of the distillery was the snow-capped Cairngorm mountains – just stunning! For reference The Cask Trade Trilogy series provides the opportunity for our customers to invest in three casks of new make spirit. They are aged in a first fill bourbon, refill sherry hogshead and a port barrique. They are selling out so fast!

Phil: Anywhere else of interest?

Simon: We also managed to spend some time in the famous whisky towns of Elgin, Craigellachie & Rothes. Plus, a trip to see our good friend Matteo at the Speyside Whisky Shop in Aberlour. This is one of the finest whisky shops in Scotland. I always buy a few bottles there and on the trip in general! I managed to pick up a 30yr Highland Park amongst many other great bottlings.

Phil: Any highlights on the trip?

Simon: It would have to be staying at the cottage right next to the still room at the Speyside distillery. We had the River Tromie running close by and in the morning, you can hear the river plus the distillery in operation. With that the wonderful smell of the malted barley combined with the fresh fragrant mountain valley air. Truly incredible!

Speyside Distillery Exterior

Phil: Bit different to Regent St then?

Simon: Quite. Oh, I should also mention we had a great meal at the Macdonald Resort in Aviemore. Plus, the oysters at the White Horse in Edinburgh were also impressive and I can highly recommend Café Andaluz in Edinburgh.

Phil: Agreed that place is very impressive. Ok last question. How was Glasgow & Edinburgh plus anything else you’d like to mention?

Simon: We went to see our friends at Cadenhead & Royal Mile Whiskies. Managed to buy a very interesting Kilchoman finished in Mezcal casks.

Phil: That’s very interesting and quite unusual but makes sense as Mezcal can be quite smoky.

Simon: I bought some brilliant artwork for the Regents St tasting room. It is a distillery map in a cartoon version of the Tower of Babel. Even a philistine like you Phil might appreciate it.

Phil: We’ll see…

Simon: Overall a great trip! Really positive for the business. I’ll also point out that most of Speyside and Glasgow was under level three restrictions so restaurants couldn’t sell alcohol or serve food after 8pm! So, no jolly. It is in fact always a pleasure to be in Scotland and I’ve really missed seeing everyone. Hopefully we’ll be travelling up there a lot more in the near future.

Phil: Thanks Simon that was great.

Simon: I think we should open up that Kilchoman Mezcal finish… don’t you?

Bottle of Kilchoman

About the Cask Trade Trilogy: A limited-edition trio of casks, (only £5,000 for the set) available in three unique expressions – Bourbon, Sherry and Port Matured. The creation of this Trilogy is a first for Cask Trade and a truly exceptional opportunity for whisky enthusiasts and investors alike.

Using new make spirit distilled at the award-winning Speyside Distillery in Kingussie, Scotland, each customer will be able to purchase just one cask of each expression. We will travel on this journey with you, arranging samples at the different stages of maturation to provide you with a unique tasting experience. So don’t miss this opportunity to play your part in something truly exceptional. To find out more, get in touch today.

Meet the Masters – Phil Huckle

Meet the Masters – Phil Huckle

Phil Huckle

No stranger to the whisky world, reputable Brand Ambassador Phil Huckle is the latest Master to join our ever-growing team of whisky nerds.

How long have you worked for Cask Trade?

1 day, 4 hrs and 50mins and counting….

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?

I moved to Austin Texas when I was 21 and many of my new Texan friends drank Scotch so I was influenced by them and grew to love it from there…!

What are your top three favourite World Whiskies and why?

Balvenie 21yr Port Word, Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask & The Glenlivet 18yr. I generally prefer whiskies which are rich sweet, fruity and aged for a decent amount of time in sherry or port casks. The Kavalan distillery makes some fantastic expressions and the whisky ages very quickly in Taiwan as it has a tropical climate. I was fortunate to visit the distillery a few years back and has been a favourite ever since.

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of whisky are the most important for you?

As above the Speyside style really suits my pallet and I love the rich fruity dry nutty flavours that come from sherry casks or with a port cask finish.

 Your favourite whisky cocktail?

For many years it was a ‘blood & sand’ but these days I am very fond of the whisky highball, especially if it is made correctly. It needs very good quality ice and chilled glasses and must be stirred for a decent amount of time. It was visiting various bars in Tokyo two years ago that got me hooked. The Japanese bartenders have turned making this simple elegant drink into an art form.

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?

For me definitely with water. I generally start with one drop and build up from there and taste and nose the whisky at different ABVs. Every whisky will thus have a sweet spot which is then perfect for your individual pallet. I can’t drink whisky at 60+ % neat, not much anyway!

What do you like most about Cask Trade?

It’s a small growing reputable company which has established itself in a really exciting growing part of the industry. Just as important is that it’s a really nice group of people that are fun to work with.

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?

It’s a very safe investment with really good growth. As the casks mature the value of the whisky increases. An example of this is a bottle of 18yr old single malt scotch will always cost a lot more than its younger 12yr old cousin. The same applies to casks. Scotch whisky has global appeal around the world and sales are expanding on nearly every continent. Also, you don’t have to cash in your investment…. you can drink it!

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!