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.

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!

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