How to buy a whisky cask – the right way
We strongly believe buying a whisky cask should be a milestone in your life.
“I really think purchasing a whisky cask should be an experience. It shouldn’t be about numbers and figures on a spreadsheet. It shouldn’t be clinical. In a perfect world you’d have extremely fond memories of the moment you bought your cask.”
However, the world of whisky cask sales is currently anything but perfect. It can be a minefield littered with companies overpromising sky-high returns on your investment. But they forget there’s a lot of romance in whisky too, which is what made us fall in love with this industry in the first place. To us, whisky is so much more than just a commodity.
It’s a drink that connects people and brings them together. If they’re lucky, they’ll even find new friends or a new family. That’s been our experience with The Single Cask over the years. We started out as a small whisky company with just a handful of people. Now we’ve become a big, happy whisky family. And family members support each other.
“The way they supported and helped me with my own Scotch & Tattoos range, that’s how I now want to support and help other people that are interested in buying a cask.”
Torsten Zimmermann (Founder of Scotch & Tattoos)
The finer points of buying a whisky cask
Maybe you’d like to celebrate the birth of a (grand)child or a special occasion like a wedding. Or perhaps you want to become an independent bottler and are looking to secure your first cask. It could even be an investment, or maybe you’re just really, REALLY into whisky (much like we are) and want to take that next, exciting step in your whisky journey. No matter the reason for buying a cask, a lot of decisions await.
Looking for a certain flavour profile? We’ve got you covered. If you’re into the peaty, smoky whiskies that Islay is known for, or you’re looking for something more subtle with floral, honeyed or fruity flavours, we can find you a cask of an impressive Lowland or Speyside whisky. Or any other region that you can think of. It doesn’t even have to be Scotch! England is really on the up and up as a whisky nation – you’d be surprised by the quality coming from south of the Scottish border.
Cask type is another critical decision. The range of flavours you’re going to get from an ex-bourbon cask is remarkably different than what an ex-sherry cask does. Think vanilla, honey and various fruit flavours with a light sweetness; or richer sweetness with dried fruits such as raisins, dates and sultanas. And that’s just the traditional casks. If you’re like us and willing to think outside of the box, then a former Port or Sauternes cask opens up an entire new world of flavour possibilities.
You might also want to start thinking about label designs too, even if you won’t bottle your cask anytime soon. It’s such good fun to brainstorm ideas, work with a designer or start drawing up labels yourselves. And there’s nothing better than seeing such a personal whisky bottle on your shelf. Well, except for maybe seeing someone else enjoying a dram of your whisky. Trust us, we should know.
We support you to find the right whisky cask
Choosing the right cask can be overwhelming, but keep in mind that we’ll always be able to find something that fits your budget AND suits your preferred flavour profile. We’ve done so for many years and are very proud of some of our collaborations with respected whisky brands across the globe. Including Park Whisky Society from Canada, or Inside Whisky from Germany, and our friend Ash from Eight Pm New Zealand...and of course many more!
Once you’ve decided you want to buy a cask, we’ll put you in touch with one of our whisky specialists. We’ll ask questions and guide you through the murky waters.
WHAT WE DON'T DO: We don’t just send you a list with dozens of casks and leave you to your own devices. After having discussed what you’re looking for, you’ll receive maybe three or four options. If you’re not familiar with a distillery, we’ll gladly tell you all about them. We usually find you a suitable cask quick but can always go back and send over some more options if necessary.
The least fun part: delivery order, ensuring full ownership of your cask
There’s one document that should be in your possession if you want to safely buy a whisky cask. It’s called a delivery order (DO); a written record signed by the buyer and seller, which is then sent to the warehouse keeper storing your cask. It proofs the transfer of ownership. Are you not in possession of a delivery order? It usually means a firm manages the cask for you. Should that firm go out of business, you’re going to have a hard time proving the cask is yours. Remember that a ‘certificate of ownership’ from a seller doesn’t have any legal merit.
We value transparency, so we’d like for you to open your own account at a bonded warehouse, which enables you to receive a delivery order. That’s when the cask becomes 100% yours. Of course, we can still help you with requesting a sample, or with re-racking or regauging a cask. You can always come to us with questions.
We’re here to help
We understand that buying a whisky cask is a substantial financial commitment. The Single Cask works with several trusted partners to find and bottle some of the best whisky casks in Scotland. That makes us confident we can support your personal journey and offer you the best solution. We can help you monitor how your whisky progresses and get you sorted once it is ready to be bottled – or sell it on if that’s what you decide is best. Our team is always here to help.
Contact us here if you want to find out more about buying your own whisky cask.