Meet the Masters – Alan Ng

Meet the Masters – Alan Ng

Alan


As the newest member of the Cask Trade family, Alan is helping John Wong head up our new Hong Kong office and is joining us as a Sales & Marketing Executive and fellow Whisky nerd.

How long have you worked for Cask Trade?
I started working in Cask Trade at the end of July. So I have worked for almost a month!

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?
I joined a wonderful whisky tour when I was traveling in Edinburgh. That was the first time I tried single malt Scotch Whisky and I have fallen in love with whisky ever since.

What are your top three favourite World whiskies and why?
1. Caol Ila from Scotland
It has a taste of soft smoke and peat which makes a perfect balanced whisky.
2. Cooley from Ireland.
Irish Whiskey often gives a smooth mouthfeel and elegant fruit flavour because of its unique triple distilled method.
3. Kavalan from Taiwan
Kavalan whisky provides a strong oaky and spicy flavour, especially those matured in a sherry cask. You will definitely love it if you are a sherry-casked whisky lover.

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of whisky are the most important for you?
It is really hard to pick one favourite because I like many of them. But if I really had to choose one, it would be peat.
I would say the taste of the whisky is the most important for me. Every single whisky has its own distinctive taste because of its uniqueness. I will never get tired of having whisky every day.

Your favourite whisky cocktail?
My favourite whisky cocktail would be an Old Fashion. I like the flavour when the whisky is mixed with the bitters, it tastes so amazing!

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
It depends. Straight cask strength can give you a strong, powerful and full flavour of the whisky, meanwhile, whisky with water has a nice elegant and comfortable taste. So, why not both?

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
I like working with the people here in Cask Trade, very friendly and helpful to each other.

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?
Whisky Casks are really a nice long-term investment as older whiskies are getting more and more rare and expensive, so it would be a very good foresight to invest in Whisky Casks.

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 – Hugh Troup

Meet the Masters – Hugh Troup

Meet the Masters - Hugh Troup

From juvenile pallet to Whisky Master, new Sales & Marketing Executive Hugh Troup explains how whisky lit a fire in his belly fairly early on, influencing his decision to follow his passion.

How long have you worked for Cask Trade? 

Two weeks now and loving every minute!

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?
My Godfather purchased a cask of whisky when I was born and 14 years later had it bottled. He let me try a sample when I turned 18 and I must admit, I thought it was way too rich and powerful for my delicate, juvenile palate…! As the years went by and my skill and knowledge increased, I was digging through some old boxes and found he had left me two cases of the stuff! I examined the bottle again, opened a fresh one up was delighted to sample this independently bottled 14-year-old Springbank at 56% ABV. This experience lit a fire in my belly (metaphorically and literally speaking) and drove me onward to learn and develop my knowledge further. 

What are your top three favourite World Whiskies and why?
What are your top three favourite songs? It’s an impossible question for me as my palate is always changing but there are some drams that I’ll always fall back on -1994 Tomatin Single Cask 21-year-old, Laphroaig Lore, and Highland Park 18-year-old are just brilliant, always. 

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of Whisky are the most important for you?
Flavour-wise, I love Islay Peat; that rich iodine, seaweed brine and oily smoke is just iconic and instantly recognisable. I also love anything that is all vanilla and cream-soda, and finally I love a nutty rancio flavour. For me the texture of the dram is definitely up there, I love the broad spectrum you can get so long as it’s not confused and muddled.

Your favourite Whisky cocktail?
Blood & Sand, unusual but a good one is a real delight. 

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
Always straight from the cask for me, then add some water after to open it up and explore the more subtle and nuanced flavours.

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
The people. The team’s passion, knowledge and humour are infectious, and I’m enthralled by the day-to-day conversations, debates and wit that fly around the office.

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?
Because it’s exciting, lucrative and an ever-evolving investment. There are few other alternative investments out there that you can watch mature over the years, sample and quite literally taste the fruits of your labours!

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 – 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!

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!