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!

Discovering Glenrothes Distillery

Discovering Glenrothes Distillery

Glenrothes distillery (Glen-roth-ess, From ‘Gleann Rathais’, Rothes Valley), Macallan’s sister distillery, is built a short distance away in the picturesque Speyside town of Rothes. While it is not as well known, Glenrothes’ spirit is richer and more complex, and is aged in the same famous sherry casks as its illustrious relative. It is little wonder that Glenrothes is quickly becoming noticed by investors and independent bottlers alike, and prices have been rising very quickly.

A richly flavoured and complex malt, Glenrothes is a colourful Speyside distillery that ages the majority of its whiskies in large sherry butts. Due to its artisanal character, Glenrothes has developed a dedicated following, especially in east Asia where rich, sherried whiskies are in great demand.

Glenrothes bulbs

The distillery was built in 1878 by James Stuart & Co, who then also ran the nearby Macallan distillery. For the first 50 years, Glenrothes was hampered by a series of unfortunate events. The first whisky ran off the stills on the 28 December 1879, the same day as the Tay Bridge disaster.

Over-proof whisky is notoriously highly flammable, and at 100% proof, the distillery paid the price. Extension work began in 1896, but before the work was finished, a fire in December 1897 caused serious damage. The distillery saw further damage when a violent explosion shook Glenrothes in 1903.

Inside a cask

Then, in 1922, another fire in Warehouse Number One caused the loss of 910,000 L of whisky. The final fire in 1962 afforded the opportunity for expansion, and a further re-build in 1982 extended the still hall to five wash stills and five spirit stills.

Today, Glenrothes is part of the Edrington Group.

These incredible casks yield a huge number of bottles and can be bottled from 12 years upwards to 40 years. People often buy them after our client sells them and hang on for the next stage of their life. They can either change hands a number of times or be kept for the next generation before bottling. Ex-sherry barrels are an important component of any investment portfolio. We’ve got plenty of Glenrothes currently in stock!

Call our friendly team today on 0203 7463030 and let’s talk Glenrothes!

Glenrothes cask

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!