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Whisky Casks

 

"Over a decade whisky investors would have quintupled their money. That is a far better return than on most assets. Needless to say, global equities are well behind at 2.5 times."

Lex, FT.com, 30th Jan 2021

Introduction
Have you ever fancied owning a cask of whisky? If the answer is yes, then we can make that happen for you. If the answer is no, then perhaps you should consider it, as there is a great deal of synergy between buying wine to lay down and buying casks of whisky. A cask of whisky can be bought, stored and sold under bond, much in the same way as a case of wine. Taxes are only payable if the cask is bottled and delivered, again, the same as with a case of wine. Ultimately, the whisky can be either resold or bottled and enjoyed. You can buy a single cask for as little as £2500 or build a portfolio of multiple casks to suit any budget.

Perhaps most interesting are the returns, with casks capable of showing profit levels that are hard to beat and in a relatively short period of time.

 

Colin Hampden-White

Expertise
Farr Vintners is lucky enough to be great friends with one of the country's leading experts in whisky - Colin Hampden-White. You may have seen Colin on Amazon's The Three Drinkers. He is also chairman of the Circle of Wine Writers, having worked at The Scotsman, The Times, The FT and was the founding editor of Whisky Quarterly. In recognition of his services to the Scotch Whisky industry, he was also made a Keeper of the Quaich. Colin is our eyes and ears when it comes to finding the very best casks to put in front of our customers.

 

Why Buy Casks?
The cask market (and whisky in general) is going through a Golden Age. Bottles and casks of top distilleries are consistently breaking records at auction and a new article about whisky investment seems to appear almost daily in some publication or another. This explosion in popularity is understandable, given that whisky has been the top performing alternative asset class for the past two years. This success is not restricted just to the headline-grabbing top end of the market. As more and more people enter the market, drinkers and investors alike, the availability of casks at all levels decreases and therefore prices go up. It is a simple supply/demand scenario that has been tried and tested.

Liquid Gold

In a nutshell:

 

Casks lying at the distillery

How Does It Work?
* C  hoose your strategy - a budget, an investment period and, most importantly, exactly why you're buying (pure investment, drinking etc.)
* A  sk for advice - about which cask is best suited to your strategy. We have access to some truly wonderful whiskies and some unrivalled expertise.
* S  it Tight - wait whilst your cask matures, under bond, either at the distillery or in a Scottish Bond, legally in your ownership.
* K  eep waiting - older whisky tends to command higher prices so theoretically, the longer you wait, the more the profit could be.
S  ell - independent bottlers are always looking to buy casks of all ages and all quality levels. Other investors often take on casks from previous owners. Or you can bottle, drink and/or sell your cask (taxes and bottling costs apply).

 

Get Involved
Any customer of Farr Vintners can buy a cask from us. It will appear in your online portfolio along with your wines but will remain in a bonded warehouse in Scotland (a legal requirement). You will be invoiced per annum for storage and insurance, in the same way you're invoiced for your wines. When it comes to selling your cask, we can present you with the options and provide you with advice around the sale. 

 

Click here to read more about investing in casks

 

The list of casks on offer changes regularly and our current offer can be seen below. If there is anything specific you are looking for, or if you'd like advice on how to build a portfolio, please email us at casks@farrvintners.com.

 

Please note that whisky casks cannot be bought including taxes and must be bought under bond.

Tullibardine (Highland)

Tullibardine sits at the foot of the Highlands and alcohol, in some form or another, has been made here for centuries. Like many older distilleries, it has seen its fair share of owners but the last two teams in charge have invested heavily in casks and overall renovation. After many changes of direction, Tullibardine seems to now be back on track and the future looks very bright for this ancient distillery. 

Category Vint. Name Size Cs Bts Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky2014Tullibardine Cask #650825 (Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 17.02.2014, Litres of Alcohol - 125.8, Original, Est 283bts, 63.5%)Cask13,300.00cask3300.000000Tullibardine Cask #650825 (Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 17.02.2014, Litres of Alcohol - 125.8, Original, Est 283bts, 63.5%)0

Spirits are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Colin says:

"This is the only distillery owned by Picard Vins & Spiritueux, and they have revamped the packaging and liquid over the last few years. Like Ardmore it is liked by bottlers. This will do well because of that. This could also be a sleeper as if it is sold and taken on by one of the big boys, it will then become a much bigger prospect and casks will be harder to find so the price will increase hugely. So it's good now, but could be a real sleeper."

Tormore (Speyside)

Tormore is a relatively young distillery compared to most. Founded in 1958 by the owners of Long John whisky, one of the most popular whiskies in France, it soon became the core of that blend. Tormore was also part of Allied Domecq’s portfolio when it was sold and ended up in the hands of Pernod Ricard. Like many whiskies used predominately for blending, the owners’ main business focus is on the mass market, hence why single cask bottlings are so rare – it is not a reflection on the quality of the spirit. Tormore’s style is one of sweet, fruity whisky with a spicy backbone.

Category Vint. Name Size Cs Bts Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky2010Tormore Cask #801040 (Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 01.09.2010, Litres of Alcohol - 136, Original, Est 282bts, 68.9%)Cask14,700.00cask4700.000000Tormore Cask #801040 (Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 01.09.2010, Litres of Alcohol - 136, Original, Est 282bts, 68.9%)0
Cask Whisky2010Tormore Cask #801041 (Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 01.09.2010, Litres of Alcohol - 138, Original, Est 286bts, 68.9%)Cask14,770.00cask4770.000000Tormore Cask #801041 (Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 01.09.2010, Litres of Alcohol - 138, Original, Est 286bts, 68.9%)0

Spirits are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Colin says:

"A very pretty distillery, Tormore was the first distillery built in Speyside in the 20th century. Because there is no official bottling (beyond a 12yo which sold out very quickly), independent bottlers like Tormore and so demand is always consistent."

Glen Moray (Speyside)

Glen Moray is owned by La Martiniquaise, one of France's largest spirits companies. Built in 1897, despite a couple of brief periods of closure, it has had a relatively quiet life compared to many of its peers. Well respected and somewhat under-the-radar until recently, the style here is one of fruit and balance and there are many exciting wood finishes to explore.

Category Vint. Name Size Cs Bts Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky2008Glen Moray Cask #5640 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 28.10.2008, Litres of Alcohol - 107.3, Re-Gauged, Est 286bts, 53.5%)Cask19,015.00cask9015.000000Glen Moray Cask #5640 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 28.10.2008, Litres of Alcohol - 107.3, Re-Gauged, Est 286bts, 53.5%)0
Cask Whisky2008Glen Moray Cask #5642 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 28.10.2008, Litres of Alcohol - 117.0, Re-Gauged, Est 293bts, 56.9%)Cask19,825.00cask9825.000000Glen Moray Cask #5642 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 28.10.2008, Litres of Alcohol - 117.0, Re-Gauged, Est 293bts, 56.9%)0
Cask Whisky2008Glen Moray Cask #5643 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 28.10.2008, Litres of Alcohol - 112.6, Re-Gauged, Est 281bts, 57.2%)Cask19,460.00cask9460.000000Glen Moray Cask #5643 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 28.10.2008, Litres of Alcohol - 112.6, Re-Gauged, Est 281bts, 57.2%)0
Cask Whisky2008Glen Moray Cask #5644 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 28.10.2008, Litres of Alcohol - 113.3, Re-Gauged, Est 296bts, 54.5%)Cask19,520.00cask9520.000000Glen Moray Cask #5644 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 28.10.2008, Litres of Alcohol - 113.3, Re-Gauged, Est 296bts, 54.5%)0

Spirits are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Colin says:

"This whisky is seen as one of the best value single malt whiskies. Previously having been owned by LVMH, it is also recognised to be great quality. Because of this it is very well known, whilst also having a reputation with whisky drinkers for creating very good experimental whiskies. Premium releases have been finished in many different wine and fortified wine casks. It is the only whisky distillery owned by La Martiniquaise and they don’t release many casks to the open market, which means that this whisky will always be in demand."

Glengarioch (Highland)

Glengarioch (which is the name of the distillery as opposed to Glen Garioch – the name of the whisky) was founded in 1797 and unusually for a distillery with such a long history, it produced spirit relatively uninterrupted until it closed some 171 years later in 1968. Thankfully, the hiatus was temporary and, apart from another two-year closure in 1995, it has been in operation ever since. Now owned by drinks giant Beam Suntory, distillery bottlings of Glen Garioch across multiple expressions are relatively plentiful and popular, meaning that single casks are always highly sought-after.

Category Vint. Name Size Cs Bts Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky2009Glen Garioch Cask #90000683 (Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 19.02.2009, Litres of Alcohol - 121.7, Original, Est 274bts, 63.5%), GlengariochCask17,200.00cask7200.000000Glen Garioch Cask #90000683 (Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 19.02.2009, Litres of Alcohol - 121.7, Original, Est 274bts, 63.5%), Glengarioch0

Spirits are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Colin says:

"Pronounced Glen Geery, this distillery is not far from Speyside and is a quintessential highland distillery. Under the same ownership as Bowmore and with an equally good wood policy, it benefits greatly from Suntory’s marketing power. As a result, this distillery is becoming better known and can be seen in global travel retail. Casks are very rarely seen outside of the industry and are always popular with independent bottlers."

Royal Brackla (Highland)

Royal Brackla is replete with history. Founded in 1812 on the Cawdor Estate, the distillery was the first to be granted a Royal Warrant (William IV in 1835). It closed for 6 years in 1985 but reopened, saw some reinvestment and was then sold to Bacardi in 1998. It was forever used for blends until current owners Bacardi decided to put some focus on it. In 2020, a new range of 12, 18 and 21yo expressions were created and so now, Royal Brackla has popularity amongst single malt lovers but it also remains popular with blenders.

Category Vint. Name Size Cs Bts Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky2011Royal Brackla Cask #110000231 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 17.05.2011, Litres of Alcohol - 159.2, Original, Est 357bts, 63.7%)Cask18,700.00cask8700.000000Royal Brackla Cask #110000231 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 17.05.2011, Litres of Alcohol - 159.2, Original, Est 357bts, 63.7%)0
Cask Whisky2012Royal Brackla Cask #120000324 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 30.04.2012, Litres of Alcohol - 158.1, Original, Est 355bts, 63.6%)Cask17,950.00cask7950.000000Royal Brackla Cask #120000324 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 30.04.2012, Litres of Alcohol - 158.1, Original, Est 355bts, 63.6%)0

Spirits are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Colin says:

"Royal Brackla is perceived as the top of the premium tree of the five distilleries owned by Bacardi, who have been marketing their single malt distilleries heavily over the last eight years. Found on the Cawdor estate, of Macbeth fame, it is one of only two active distilleries with Royal in the title as they gained the first Royal warrant for a Scotch whisky from William IV in 1835. This Royal name makes the brand very desirable in Asian markets. Mostly used in the Dewar’s Blend, casks are not seen often on the open market."

BenRiach (Speyside)

In its early years, BenRiach was the poor relative to Longmorn - its stablemate and better-known neighbour. Founded in 1897, it closed just three years later and remained mothballed until 1965 when then owners The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd reopened it. It took a further seven years before production recommenced, only for the distillery to close yet again in 2002. When it reopened in 2004 is arguably when BenRiach's proper life began. Under the control of the brilliant businessman Billy Walker, the range was developed, and the distillery's reputation grew. Now under Brown Forman's (Jack Daniels) control, the distillery goes from strength to strength.

Category Vint. Name Size Cs Bts Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky1997BenRiach Cask #7349 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 22.01.1997, Litres of Alcohol - 81.1, Re-Gauged, Estimated 180bts, 64.4%)Cask123,350.00cask23350.000000BenRiach Cask #7349 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 22.01.1997, Litres of Alcohol - 81.1, Re-Gauged, Estimated 180bts, 64.4%)0

Spirits are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Colin says:

"Until a few years ago this distillery was owned by Billy Walker who bought three distilleries for £40M. He sold these distilleries to Brown Forman of Jack Daniel’s fame for £281M. Brown Forman are using their considerable marketing power and worldwide distribution in ensuring BenRiach as a brand becomes even better known and more desirable. Independent bottlings of BenRiach are not seen often and casks will always be desired by independent bottlers."

 

Craigellachie (Speyside)

Craigellachie is one of five distilleries owned by Dewar's, which in turn is owned by Bacardi. Built in 1891 but not operational until 1898, Craigellachie was run for many years by the enigmatic Sir Peter Mackie, an eccentric yet passionate whisky afficionado and one of Scotch whisky's real characters (of which there are many). The style here is big and, unusually for Speyside, slightly smoky.

Category Vint. Name Size Cs Bts Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky2007Craigellachie Cask #900190 (1st Fill Sherry Butt, Age of Youngest Spirit - 20.03.2007, Litres of Alcohol - 276.4, Re-Gauged, Estimated 632bts, 62.5%)Cask144,500.00cask44500.000000Craigellachie Cask #900190 (1st Fill Sherry Butt, Age of Youngest Spirit - 20.03.2007, Litres of Alcohol - 276.4, Re-Gauged, Estimated 632bts, 62.5%)0

Spirits are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Colin says:

"Craigellachie is fast becoming a cult whisky within the whisky-loving community. It is seen as a whisky with a difference. Big and bold in style, the marketing brings a different style too, with all the aged releases being at odd numbers: 13 and 17 for example rather than more traditional age points of 12 and 18. Independent bottlings of Craigellachie are becoming harder to find. Bottlers also like it as it can be bottled from a young age but can also mature for an exceedingly long time. The oldest expression released by the distillery is 51 years old."

 

Caperdonich (Speyside - Demolished)

Caperdonich started life as Glen Grant #2 – a distillery originally built in 1898 to increase Glen Grant’s production. It closed in 1902 during the whisky “bust” and remained closed until 1965 when it was redeveloped and renamed Caperdonich, after the well which supplied it with water. It continued to produce popular whisky until it was deemed surplus to requirements by the final owners, Pernod Ricard, in 2002. It closed, the land was sold off and the distillery was demolished. As with all mothballed/demolished distilleries, its popularity then soared...

Category Vint. Name Size Cs Bts Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky1997Caperdonich Cask #30896 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 03.04.1997, Litres of Alcohol - 99.7, Re-Gauged, Estimated 250bts, 57%)Cask154,000.00cask54000.000000Caperdonich Cask #30896 (Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 03.04.1997, Litres of Alcohol - 99.7, Re-Gauged, Estimated 250bts, 57%)0

Spirits are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Colin says:

"There are few opportunities these days to buy whisky in the bottle from distilleries which are well respected, but closed. This cask doesn't only give the opportunity to buy whisky from a closed distillery, but to buy whisky from such a distillery that is still living and maturing in its cask. Caperdonich was closed in 2002 and demolished in 2010, never to return. This cask gives a window on the past to a whisky made in a style revered by whisky lovers. We expect to see very few if any casks from this distillery again. It is in very high demand from independent bottlers."

Click here to read more about investing in casks

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