Mauritius Rum (La Bourdonnaise)

Mauritius Rum (La Bourdonnaise)

 

Mauritius Rum is produced on Mauritius, a tropical island paradise situated east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The island was first a Dutch, then French, then British colony but even though they have been growing an abundance of sugar cane for centuries there was no history of rum production.

This would seem surprising at first glance, but as the locals don’t drink, and the British had an abundance of rum being produced from their Caribbean islands, a law was passed banning production. Even more surprising was that this wasn’t repealed until 2006…! Now there are six producers on the island and La Bourdonnaise Distillery is slowly getting recognised.

A number of bottlings of Mauritius Rum from La Bourdonnaise Distillery have started to appear and there is a particularly good one available by Masters of Malt which has been aged in Sherry Butts – the reviews are good. The rum is made from sugar cane juice and distilled in column stills situated in a stunning old plantation house. Production is currently quite small, but sales are starting to take off around Asia. 

One thing for certain is that rum is finally on the rise after threatening to increase in popularity for many years. Mauritius Rum Casks are the new kids on the block but an exciting addition to any portfolio.

We currently have some scrumptious 2010 Marituius Rum Sherry Butts on our stock list. To find out more about Rum Cask Investment, contact The Masters today!

Tamnavulin Distillery Focus

Tamnavulin Distillery Focus

 

Before the whisky region of Speyside (where the Tamnavulin Distillery is located), all the distilleries in this area were collectively known as ‘the Glenlivets’. This came about because in the mid 1800s many distilleries actually just called their whisky ‘Glenlivet’ to trade on the name. A court case on behalf of the Glenlivet owners meant that all the distilleries had to use a suffix so until the 1980s you would see names like Macallan-Glenlivet, Aberlour-Glenlivet etc.

Tamnavulin Distillery opened in 1966 under the name Tamnavulin-Glenlivet, but considering they are the only other distillery that sits on the River Livet besides its famous neighbour, they certainly had every right to use the name. Initially they just made fillings for blends but sadly from 1995 to 2007 the owners mothballed the distillery.

After reopening it is only in more recent years that the Single Malt bottlings have been released. The style of the whisky is quite light and biscuity due to the half-dozen very large stills and relatively short fermentation time of 48 hours. Interestingly, from 2010 to 2013 they did make a small amount of heavily-peated spirit which is very rare for Speyside.

Today the owners Whyte & Mackay have started to release limited amounts of Single Malt with most of it aged in Oloroso Casks. For investors, it’s worth bearing in mind that Tamnavulin Distillery’s sister is Dalmore and the owners know what they are doing in terms of wood policy and luxury brand marketing.

In the last two years they have released some well-received expressions finished in Grenache, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir & Cabernet Sauvignon casks. Tamnavulin casks are very good value for money so under the guardianship of Whyte & Mackay (who have openly stated they are shifting the priority from Blends to Malts), now is the right time to invest.   

We currently have a range of 2009 Tamnavulin Hogsheads on our stock list. To find out more about investing in Tamnavulin Whisky, contact The Masters today!

Strathmill Distillery Focus

Strathmill Distillery Focus

Strathmill Distillery is hidden away in the small town of Keith in Speyside. It is one distillery that sometimes slips under the radar due to the fact that hardly any of it ever gets bottled as a Single Malt. Strathmill opened like many in the late Victorian era and its history has been quite unremarkable. Interestingly it was owned by the gin company W&A Gilbey for about 70 years before becoming part of what is now known as Diageo.

Its main function was to make malt for the famous J&B Rare Blend. With J&B being a very light style of whisky it might explain why Strathmill is fitted with a purifier pipe running from the lyne arm to the condenser. This essentially produces a much lighter style of spirit with a slightly oily character which would make sense when you think about the character of the J&B blend.

Production capacity is around 2.6 million litres and they vary the fermentation time between 65 and 120 hours using two pairs of stills. For investors, the attraction here is the rarity in finding any Single Malt from this distillery to drink. Diageo have bottled very little and you can find a 12-year with the whisky specialists if you’re lucky. Clearly, the Independent Bottlers would like to get hold of more casks of this to satisfy the curiosity of their legions of Malt Enthusiasts around the globe.

This tells us that there will be a strong exit strategy in place so if the price looks right, it would certainly be a useful addition to any portfolio. Every Strathmill Distillery expression we’ve seen has been aged in Bourbon Casks and the write-ups for the 23-year and 25-year expressions have been very favourable, so it clearly ages well.

Tasting notes: Expect to find a light, spicy, dry, and peppery style. Vanilla and grassy notes also come to the fore.

To find out more about investing in Strathmill casks, contact The Masters today!

Tomatin Distillery Focus

Tomatin Distillery Focus

 

Tomatin Distillery in many ways has had quite a remarkable rollercoaster history. Located in Inverness close to the Western edge of Speyside, the distillery opened up in 1897. Post-World War II it underwent a huge expansion going from two stills up to 23 and making it Scotland’s largest distillery. However, the timing was awful as Scotch whisky had just gone into decline and by 1985 the distillery had gone bankrupt and into liquidation.

The saviour arrived from an unexpected source, as the distillery was bought by company Takara & Okara and it was the first Japanese foray into Scotch whisky. Under Japanese ownership, the Tomatin Distillery production was downsized and there has since been a slow evolution from making fillings for blends into becoming a well-known Single Malt brand. In recent years they’ve established a core range of a NAS; a 12, 18, 30 and 36-year-old with many, many limited-editions released.

In 2010 Tomatin Distillery started making a limited amount of peaty whisky called Cu Bocan, then in 2018 a very rare 50-year-old expression was bottled (£10,000 RRP!). Today production capacity is about five million litres with a varied fermentation of between 55 and 110 hours. They’re aged in a variety of casks and like many distilleries, you can find many different finishes.

One important point to highlight for investors is, it is clear that the distillery is taking their foray into establishing themselves as a premium single malt brand very seriously. An example of this is how much they are investing in their wood policy and the fact that they now age their whisky in a significantly high percentage of first-fill bourbon and sherry butts. The progress of Tomatin Distillery has been slow and steady, but the liquid has certainly improved since the dark days of the 80s. This has meant that they have slipped under the radar a bit so adding the odd cask of Tomatin could be a very savvy long-term play for any portfolio. The value is still certainly there.

To find out more about investing in Tomatin Whisky, contact The Masters today!

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!

Linkwood Distillery Focus

Linkwood Distillery Focus

 

Elgin, where the Linkwood Distillery is situated, is by far the largest urban settlement in the sparsely populated region of Scotland known as Speyside. It boasts the region’s only nightclub and possibly the most bonkers statue in the whole of the UK, (Google Dandy Lion Elgin and you’ll catch our drift!) but whilst you can’t seem to travel more than a few hundred yards before you trip over another distillery, in Elgin there are only two.

Linkwood is part of the Diageo empire but it is incredibly hard to find it bottled as a Single Malt. One of the main reasons for this is that Linkwood Distillery is classified by blenders as a ‘top dressing malt’. If you think of all the distilleries being classified by blenders in league tables, you have an elite 10 which are the most sought after – these malts really add a lot of depth of flavour to a blend. Some of these ‘top dressers’ include Longmorn, The Glenlivet, Highland Park, Macallan, and of course Linkwood.

When you think that blended Scotch whisky still accounts for about 85% of the global market then you’ll understand why the availability can be very limited, as the blends are where the whisky companies still make the bulk of their profits. Linkwood Distillery can trace its history back to 1821 and they age their whisky in a variety of casks, but these rarely come onto the market.

Recently, a 37-year limited-edition was released which gained a few plaudits from the whisky writers. If a Linkwood cask comes onto the market be aware that this is a leading Premiership Malt, despite not having the fame of some of its Speyside cousins. A worthwhile investment.

To find out more about investing in Linkwood casks, contact The Masters today!

Port Dundas Distillery Focus 

Port Dundas Distillery Focus 

 

Port Dundas is sadly no more. It was closed and demolished in 2011 by its owners Diageo when they decided to consolidate their grain whisky production at Cameronbridge. Whilst the business rationale behind that is probably very sound, it is a real shame that this famous Glasgow landmark is now deceased. Opened way back in 1811 it is doubly sad as the distillery was celebrating its 200th anniversary.

When you think of the wars, depressions, recessions, social changes and huge whisky booms and busts that it has survived it’s slightly ironic that it was finally closed in a time when the Scotch whisky industry has never been in a healthier state, and its owners never more prosperous. Port Dundas distillery itself was certainly seen as a landmark when it opened as it sat on the highest point in Glasgow and towered over the city.

In the 1860s it was merged with the Cowlairs distillery next door and then in 1877 became one of the founder members of the DCL group (which eventually became Diageo). By 1885 its mixture of column and pot stills made it the largest distillery in Scotland and production was flat-out to keep with the global boom in blended whisky. The location was perfect for the bottling; blending plants were close by as was the huge port of Glasgow used for shipping the whisky to the four corners of the world.

In 1902 another neighbour Dundashill was merged into the complex. Dundashill at that time had the largest production of Single Malt whisky and at this point, it’s hard to fathom the size of the combined site. The complex could also boast at the time the world’s tallest chimney which was 138 metres tall!  

The 20th century was tough for many Scotch Whisky distilleries, and two fires in 1903 and 1916 destroyed much of the facility – thankfully Port Dundas was rebuilt and thrived. It even managed to survive the Luftwaffe’s intense bombing campaign of 1940 and 1941. Once the war was over it was onwards and upwards and at one point was producing 39 million litres of spirit which was needed for the Haig, Johnnie Walker and White Horse blends amongst others.  

We’ve always found older whiskies from this closed grain distillery incredibly smooth to drink. They have unique complexities which whilst not as in-depth as a Single Malt are still rewarding in their own right. Port Dundas typically has notes of vanilla and caramel with a lovely mouthfeel and texture. An incredible chance to purchase such an old Cask (1999) this is worth re-gauging and sampling upon purchase but be in no doubt the liquid is excellent.

From the investment angle, our eyes always light up when it is a closed distillery because there is only a finite amount of stock and one day it will all be gone. As stated at 68.5% ABV there is a lot of life left in these casks and even at 22 years old they have a long way to go if you want them to. For this reason alone we would invest and hold for as long as you can (whilst paying close attention to how it’s maturing) because if you are in possession of some of the last casks in existence, then the laws of supply and demand are going to work very much in your favour.

One last thing to consider is that this Port Dundas Distillery has a lot of history and even if many people don’t realise it right now that can certainly change. The legend of Port Dundas could certainly grow over the mists of time.

We currently have a range of 1999 Port Dundas Hogsheads on our stock list. To find out more about investing in Port Dundas casks, contact The Masters today!

Benrinnes Distillery Focus

Benrinnes Distillery Focus

 

A stereotypical Speyside Malt is generally described as sweet, fruity, and floral, and the perception is that it is lighter in style. However, Benrinnes Distillery whisky would certainly fit into a vastly different category, which can only be described as ‘meaty’ along with fellow Speysiders; Cragganmore, Dailuaine, and Mortlach.

For Benrinnes, this full-bodied flavour comes from its incredibly complex distillation style. Today Benrinnes Distillery falls under the vast Diageo empire with nearly all the production destined for their Johnnie Walker and J&B blends. This means that finding a bottling of this Malt is rarer than a hot summer’s day in the Highlands. If you do get a chance to try this wonderful Malt the first thing you will notice is how big-bodied and viscous it is – it really is a unique experience trying it.

Benrinnes Distillery itself is located at the foot of the famous Speyside mountain, which is of course where the name comes from. Opened in 1826 the history of the distillery has been quite unremarkable with the liquid hidden from view until the late 1990s when the first limited edition bottlings occurred. From researching this distillery, the scarcity and lack of availability have given Benrinnes a real cult following amongst the whisky enthusiast community.

From an investment perspective, this is a clever addition to the portfolio as you have a rare whisky that will be in great demand with the Independent Bottlers; the whisky itself has a very unique style and it is owned by Diageo. There seems to be no reason why the supply and demand of the marketplace will not continue to push the value higher and higher.

To find out more about investing in Tullibardine Whisky, contact The Masters today!

Macduff Distillery Focus 

Macduff Distillery Focus 

 

Macduff Distillery is owned by the Bacardi–Dewar’s Group and is situated right on the coast just to the east of the Speyside region, so is officially classified as a Highland distillery. Opened in 1960 in the post-war whisky boom, the distillery made malt whisky as fillings for the huge William Lawson blend. However, under the then-owners Italians Martini Rossi, they realised that there was an opportunity for light young Single Malts which suited the Italian palate, so a five-year-old and an eight-year-old were released to much success. The expansion of the distillery has continued and in 1995 moved under the ownership of Bacardi-Dewar’s. 

The style of this malt is medium-bodied, nutty, and fruity. The whisky’s character is said to come from short mashing, short fermentation time, and extra cold condensers which give a little more texture and weight to the malt. 

From an investment perspective, it’s worth noting that the owners have plans to expand the sales of the Single Malt under the brand name The Deveron, and at present are promoting a core range at 12-years-old and 18-years-old. We’ve tasted the 18-year bottling before and absolutely loved it, so much depth of flavour with a wonderful silky texture. The single cask bottlings are also incredible.

It’s fair to say that Macduff Distillery is one that’s quietly slumbering away in its idyllic coastal setting, and one day is going to awaken and start surprising people. It’s important to consider that if the Malt is needed for a Blend then the Blend will always take priority as that’s 85% of the market. Macduff is certainly worth investing in for its quality and who the very wealthy owners are. Clearly, the independent bottlers love this distillery so there will never be a shortage of options for your exit strategy.  

NB – The official distillery bottlings were originally called Glen Deveron and now just Deveron whilst the independent bottlings are by the distillery name Macduff.

We currently have a range of 2012 Macduff Hogsheads and Sherry Butts on our stock list. To find out more about investing in Macduff casks, contact The Masters today!

Tomintoul Distillery Focus

Tomintoul Distillery Focus

Tomintoul Distillery is a relative newcomer, having opened in 1965. It is located in the highest village in the Highlands just on the edge of the Cairngorm Mountains with its closest neighbour being The Glenlivet distillery. In 1990 Robert Fleming became their Master Distiller and is still there to this day over 30 years later. He has certainly been instrumental in the rise of this distillery.

In 2000 Angus Dundee Distillers bought the distillery and an impressive core range of 10, 14, 16, 18, 21, and 25-year-old Whiskies have been released as well as many limited edition cask finishes including the delicious 15-year port wood finish. It’s clear that the liquid is very versatile and ages well at all ages in all different types of casks. This bodes well for any investor as it will give a lot of flexibility for any exit strategy.

Currently distillery capacity is at 3.3 million litres. They produce a small amount of peated malt but most fits into that classic Speyside style. We find Tomintoul to be a medium-bodied malt that is quite sweet and fruity with plenty of pineapple, cheesecake and peaches as an example of their 14-year expression.

From an investment point of view, it is clear that the 30-year tenure of Robert Fleming has certainly steered the distillery in the right direction and laid down strong foundations for the future of Tomintoul Distillery. The casks right now are very good value for money.

To find out more about investing in Tomintoul casks, contact The Masters today!