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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 £3000 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.

The Speyside Distillery (Speyside)

Originally founded in 1976, the Speyside Distillery then took over two decades to be constructed by hand by George Christie and stone mason Alex Fairlie. Even though the first whisky came off the stills in 1990, the Speyside Distillery is far from being a modern distillery, it is actually one of the smallest and most beautiful distilleries in Scotland. The distillery is very traditional and is still hand operated with a team of only four working the pair of smalls stills. Due to the small production capacity, the focus is on producing as high a quality spirit as possible and using a strict wood policy (mostly first fill ex-bourbon). This results in a very flavoursome and characterful whisky that is both fruity but also has dept of flavour, this means the whisky produced at the Speyside Distillery is able to be enjoyed young and old. Most of its own whisky is released under the brand name "Spey" which is usually 5-8 years old and is mainly sold in Asia, in particular Taiwan where it is one of the bestselling Single Malts available.

Category Vint. Name Size Qty Units Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky2021Speyside Distillery Cask #163

2nd Fill Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 18.06.2021, Litres of Alcohol 122.2, Original, Est 273bts, 63.75%

NB this cask cannot be traded or moved for the first three years from the filing date

Cask111,350.00cask1350.000000Speyside Distillery Cask #1630
Cask Whisky2021Speyside Distillery Cask #164

2nd Fill Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 18.06.2021, Litres of Alcohol 122.2, Original, Est 273bts, 63.75%

NB this cask cannot be traded or moved for the first three years from the filing date

Cask111,350.00cask1350.000000Speyside Distillery Cask #1640
Cask Whisky2021Speyside Distillery Cask #165

2nd Fill Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 18.06.2021, Litres of Alcohol 122.2, Original, Est 273bts, 63.75%

NB this cask cannot be traded or moved for the first three years from the filing date

Cask111,350.00cask1350.000000Speyside Distillery Cask #1650

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

Colin says:

"The Speyside distillery is a small boutique distillery and their casks are rarely seen on the market. Relatively new, having only started distilling in 1990, casks from this distillery are a great bet for the future as unlike the brand-new distilleries The Speyside distillery is tried and tested with aged whisky on the market, proving it is very good whisky at a great price."

Ben Nevis (Highland)

The Ben Nevis distillery was built by a famous distiller named "Long" John Macdonald in 1825. Named after the mountain that stands above it, it was unusual in that it didn't experience any period of closure during the whole of the 19th century, unlike many of its contemporaries. Currently owned by Nikka Whisky of Japan, much of its production finds its way to its parent distillery where it is blended into Nikka's bottlings (regulations are a little less strict in Japan than in Scotland!)

Category Vint. Name Size Qty Units Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky2013Ben Nevis Cask #297

Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 16.05.2013, Litres of Alcohol - 91.05, Re-Gauged, Est 216bs, 60.1%

Cask113,824.00cask3824.000000Ben Nevis Cask #2970
Cask Whisky2013Ben Nevis Cask #302

Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 16.05.2013, Litres of Alcohol - 90.73, Re-Gauged, Est 221bs, 58.6%

Cask113,811.00cask3811.000000Ben Nevis Cask #3020
Cask Whisky2020Ben Nevis Cask #458

Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 20.05.2020, Litres of Alcohol - 124.8, Original, Est 279 bts, ABV 63.7%

Cask113,310.00cask3310.000000Ben Nevis Cask #4580
Cask Whisky2020Ben Nevis Cask #459

Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 20.05.2020, Litres of Alcohol - 122.2, Original, Est 274 bts, ABV 63.7%

Cask113,240.00cask3240.000000Ben Nevis Cask #4590
Cask Whisky2020Ben Nevis Cask #460

Barrel, Age of Youngest Spirit - 20.05.2020, Litres of Alcohol - 124.8, Original, Est 279 bts, ABV 63.7%

Cask113,300.00cask3300.000000Ben Nevis Cask #4600

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

Colin says:

"Being owned by Nikka in Japan, most of the whisky from Ben Nevis finds its way over the oceans into Japanese blended whisky such as 'Nikka From The Barrel'. Ben Nevis is also used in various blended Scotch whiskies as well. Because of this, Ben Nevis casks are hard to come by and are very popular with independent bottlers. This popularity is also being driven by the consumer as Ben Nevis has become very popular with the whisky crowd over the last few years. A typically fruity highland whisky, with good body and richness, Ben Nevis has a great deal of complexity and flavour when aged."

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 Qty Units Price
IB
GBP
Per
Cask Whisky2008Glen Moray Cask #5644

Hogshead, Age of Youngest Spirit - 28.10.2008, Litres of Alcohol - 113.3, Re-Gauged, Est 296bts, 54.5%

Cask119,520.00cask9520.000000Glen Moray Cask #56440

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."

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 Qty Units 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%

Cask1123,350.00cask23350.000000BenRiach Cask #73490

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 Qty Units 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%

Cask1144,500.00cask44500.000000Craigellachie Cask #9001900

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 Qty Units 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%

Cask1154,000.00cask54000.000000Caperdonich Cask #308960

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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