Meet the Masters – John Wong

Meet the Masters – John Wong

John and his dram

Friendship and bar-hopping with whisky nerds in his hometown in Hong Kong are the two things that first ignited Sales & Marketing Executive John’s passion for whisky…

How long have you worked for Cask Trade?

“I started in September 2020.”

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?
“Friendship. It all started a few years ago; I use to go bar-hopping almost every other day back in Hong Kong. Gradually became very good friends with some local whisky lovers and bar owners. Some of them have later become mentors of my whisky journey, and I am always grateful for that. Whisky is our common language and it is simply an inseparable part of my life now.”

What are your top three favourite Scotch whiskies and why?
“Bowmore “Bicentenary”, #315, 56.2%, bottled for Federico Minetti.
To me, this bottle represents the pinnacle of whisky-making – unrivalled distillate from 1960s Bowmore, perfect balance of age and cask influence. It was also a pioneering move to bottle this at cask strength single cask at that time (1979). A truly captivating liquid gem, powerful and explosive, a symphony of phenolic fatty peat, exotic fruit bomb, quince jelly, brine, with an oily body like an ointment that cures everything.”

“Ledaig 2008/2018 53.3%.
This is the first cask I have ever bottled myself – sentimental value, and of course really good liquid as well!”

“Port Charlotte 2011 Single Cask.
Also a first – the first cask I bought from my boss Simon Aron! This cask is still maturing gracefully in Scotland, I truly believe Port Charlotte is producing very promising whisky, that could potentially become legendary malts. There are often malty notes, dry hay, oiliness, farmy hints accompanied by ashy peat smoke in Port Charlotte – no wonder some connoisseurs call Port Charlotte “mini-Brora’!”

What are your top three favourite World whiskies and why?
‘Hanyu’ 131.2″ ‘Magic carpet in a sweetie shop’ bottled by the SMWS.
A magical whisky indeed, you either love it or hate it. It is very heavily sherried which I am normally not particularly fond of, but this bottle presents waves after waves of savory sherry notes: leather, tobacco, liquorice, plum jam, dried dates… the list goes on and on!”

“Teeling 1991 49.8% bottled for The Whisky Exchange.
This is fruit punch and liquid dessert – pure fruitiness and happiness.”

“Smögen 2011/2019, 62.2%, OB single cask for Sweden.
An intriguing young whisky from Sweden. It surprisingly resembles an aged Highland malt – gentle smoke, oily, minerals, sandalwood, and hints of yellow fruits. Very interesting!”

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of whisky are the most important for you?
“There are a few flavour profiles that hit the sweet spot for me: guava and ripe mangoes for fruity whiskies; lapsang souchong (woodfire-smoked black tea), kippers and tar for sherried peaty drams; I also particularly enjoy whiskies which I describe as having “old-school” Highland genes: beeswax, dry hay, minerals and a hint of smoke. I can be annoyingly picky when it comes to whisky!”

Your favourite whisky cocktail?
“A Talisker 10 yo Mint Julep – if you’re putting up with Hong Kong’s heat and humidity you probably would have picked the same. I prefer using Talisker to the traditional bourbon, the extra maritime and peppery twist makes it a perfect summer cocktail.”

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
“Why not both?”

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
“The people! Before I joined Cask Trade I was actually a customer, and I was deeply impressed by the team’s ethos, expertise, and most importantly an unparalleled passion for whisky! I still remember the first time I visited Cask Trade’s office as a customer. I spent the whole afternoon there having really geeky chats over great drams with the team – I guess this would be the best testimonial ever?”

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?
“We live in an ever-changing world now; more and more people are considering investing in whisky casks as an alternative to more traditional investments. Whisky cask investment has coupled an enjoyable hobby with promising expected returns. Most importantly it is truly an unforgettable experience – being able to taste, sample, or even bottle your investment!”

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 – Jack Crozier

Meet the Masters – Jack Crozier

Jack Crozier

Understanding the effort and pure passion that goes into making single malt scotch, coupled with the taste of a vintage 18-year-old expression was what lured our new Sales and Marketing Executive Manager Jack into the exciting world of whisky!

How long have you worked for Cask Trade?
I’ve just joined the team here at Cask Trade within the last month after spending the last few years working for whisky brands at Edrington-Beam Suntory and Pernod Ricard.

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?
I spent about 5 years working in hospitality whilst at University, working predominantly in cocktail bars back home in Scotland where we got to play around with some incredible whiskies. I remember one particular whisky tasting up in Dundee where I first heard about all the effort and passion that goes into making a single malt scotch and got to try my first 18-year-old whisky, after that I was hooked!

What are your top three favourite Scotch whiskies and why?
My favourite whiskies change with whichever way the wind is blowing but I’ve tried to pick out a few of my favourite distilleries:
Bowmore – There hasn’t been a whisky that I’ve tried from Bowmore that I haven’t loved. Their 15yo is the perfect balance between salted Islay peat and rich, chewy spice.
Highland Park – Another peated whisky but a completely different style of peat to Islay whiskies. The heather, honey sweetness of the 12yo is perfect for mixing while their 18yo is my favourite bottle that I have at home.
Arran – A much younger distillery in the grand scheme of things, they have released some interesting finishes over the last few years. The Amarone finish in particular is well worth searching for.

What are your top three favourite World whiskies and why?
Midleton – The Spot range of Irish Pot Still Whiskeys from Midleton in Cork are incredible. The apple notes from Green Spot make the PERFECT whiskey highball.
Suntory – We can’t really mention world whiskies without talking about Japan. Suntory make some of the most exclusive whiskies in the world but their Chita Single Grain which you can pick up in lots of British supermarkets is one of my favourites. Super creamy, buttery and far too easy to drink.
Starward – Australian and Whisky aren’t two words that you’d normally stick together but Starward are changing that. Their whisky is young, usually only a few years old but being matured in wine barrels in the heat of Melbourne makes their whisky so enjoyable already. Really interested to see what they come out with in the next few years.

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of whisky are the most important for you?
I’ve been really enjoying trying peated whiskies from different regions of Scotland and seeing the effect that the different peats used in the malting process have on flavour. One of the best things about whisky is that once you’ve found a particular flavour or style that you like, there will be countless other whiskies out there around that style that you can explore.

Your favourite whisky cocktail?
Highballs all day every day. I also love anything that pairs super smoky whiskies with fresh red berry flavours. Try sticking Laphroaig in a French martini…

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
Totally depends on the whisky, most cask strength whiskies will benefit from adding a couple of drops of water in to open them up but always worth trying them neat first.

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
Whisky investment is completely new territory to the vast majority of investors out there so you need to work with a company that is both knowledgeable and transparent. Cask Trade will guide you through the entire process of cask investment, from selecting the perfect casks based on your goals, to managing your portfolio for you through its entire lifespan. Being totally transparent on pricing between private clients and our network of independent bottlers means that you know you’re getting a fair price.

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?
There’s a real thrill to owning your own cask of whisky. You’re not just sticking your money into a stocks and shares ISA and hoping the numbers on the screen go in the right direction, you’re buying something tangible that has been made with real craft and passion. It helps that the value of whisky has been improving dramatically over the last 10 years!

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!