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!

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!

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!

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!

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!