You can be a cask owner

You can be a cask owner

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cask ownerHave you ever wanted to own a cask of your very own, unique whisky? How would you even go about purchasing a cask, and how does it all work? Well, I wondered the same, and I wrote this article (in Norwegian) on the topic back in April 2012. A lot has happened since 2012, so I figured it would be a good idea to publish an update.

A few words of warning

I can certainly understand that the idea of becoming a cask owner (of one or even several casks) is exciting, but you should stop and consider for a bit before you take the plunge.

First of all, buying a cask is expensive. Please remember that the initial price you pay for the cask will not be the total cost you will pay. Typically what you pay upfront will cover the cask (not every distillery will let you keep the empty cask afterwards), the new make, storage and insurance for a minimum of three years. When your whisky is fully matured there will be a lot of added cost; bottles, labels, bottling, shipping, duty, customs. All in all your final cost will typically be at least the double of the initial cost.

The second thing to consider is that you will end up with a lot or an awful lot of bottles of exactly the same whisky in the end. If it turns out to be a fantastic whisky, then that's perfect. But there are no guarantees...

The third thing to consider is that this will be a waiting game. You have to wait for a minimum of three years until you get your bottles home, and for larger casks the wait is up to 10 years. The exception is when you can buy already matured spirit. A few distilleries do offer such deals.

A few words of encouragement

Owning a cask of whisky is fun! You get to follow the development of the spirit through annual samples. When it is bottled, this is your unique whisky! No other whisky is exactly like your whisky.

Now, ending up with a lot of bottles is not a problem that cannot be solved. Maybe you sell of shares of your cask to friends? Maybe your whisky club will buy the cask, and you all share. Or you swap bottles with other cask owners. Or you throw the best anniversary party ever, and present a bottle as a unique gift to everyone attending.

A few distilleries where you can buy casks

I have compiled a list of all Nordic distilleries that sell casks, at least as far as I could tell from their online info. I have also added a couple of distilleries in Scotland for reference. So, if you are ready to become a cask owner, you know where to go next...

Norway

Myken Distillery (post @ mykendestilleri.no) 40 l bourbon cask, unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 23 150 NOK

You get to keep the empty cask once you have bottled your whisky. They also specify that the bottles, bottling and transport are all included. You still have to pay duty and taxes though, no way around that!

Denmark

Braunstein Distillery 27 l (54 bottles) at 56 % ABV, peated or unpeated single malt, 1 year storage, 19 200 - 22 000 DKK Your cask is filled with 2 YO sherry matured (unpeated) or 2 YO bourbon matured (peated) spirit; you then choose bourbon, rum or sherry cask for remaining maturation.

Trolden Distillery 8 l bourbon cask, unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 2 995 DKK 50 l bourbon cask, unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 17 995 DKK

Iceland

Þoran Distillery 50 l bourbon cask, unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 200 000 ISK

Finland

Teerenpeli Distillery 64 l sherry cask, unpeated single malt, 4-6 years storage, 1 400 GBP

They also have 140 l bourbon casks, and more unusual casks, such as ex-port wine or ex-Madeira cask, available occasionally. You get to keep the empty cask once you have bottled your whisky.

Sweden

Box Whisky 39.25 l bourbon cask, peated or unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 21 400 / 22 900 SEK 39.25 l sherry cask, peated or unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 22 400 / 23 900 SEK

You get to keep the empty cask once you have bottled your whisky. You can opt to re-fill it.

Gammelstilla Distillery 30 l bourbon cask, unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 16 270 SEK 30 l new Hungarian oak, unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 16 270 SEK 30 l new Swedish oak, unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 20 500 SEK 55 l sherry cask, unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 31 700 SEK 30 l new American Oak, unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 16 270 SEK

Mackmyra Distillery 30 l bourbon cask, peated or unpeated single malt, 3 years storage,  14 800 - 18 400 SEK 30 l sherry cask, peated or unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 19 600 - 23 200 SEK 30 l new Swedish oak, peated or unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 25 200 - 28 800 SEK

You can also opt to buy the Double Wood option, where you fill your cask with spirit that has already been matured for 5 years. You get to keep the empty cask once you have bottled your whisky. You can opt to re-fill it. You also get to choose which warehouse all around Sweden you want your cask to mature.

Norrtelje Distillery 30 l sherry cask, unpeated single malt, 3 years storage, 13 250 SEK

You get to keep the empty cask once you have bottled your whisky.

Smögen Distillery 30 l bourbon cask, peated single malt, 3 years storage, 18 000 SEK 30 l sherry cask, peated single malt, 3 years storage, 20 000 SEK 50 l sherry cask, peated single malt, 3 years storage, 30 000 SEK 1/8 bourbon barrel (24 l), peated single malt, 3 years storage, 10 000 SEK 1/10 sherry hogshead (22.5 l), peated single malt, 3 years storage, 11 000 SEK

You get to keep the empty cask once you have bottled your whisky. You can opt to re-fill it.

Tevsjö Distillery 30 l new American Oak, bourbon whiskey, 2 years storage, 17 000 SEK

Scotland

Arran 200 l 1st fill bourbon barrel, peated or unpeated single malt, 10 years storage, 1 850 - 2 200 GBP 250 l 1st fill sherry hogshead, unpeated single malt, 10 years storage, 2 450 GBP

Ardnamurchan 200 l bourbon barrel, peated or unpeated single malt, 10 years storage, 1 950 - 2 000 GBP 250 l Am/Sp sherry hogshead, peated or unpeated single malt, 10 years storage, 3 075 - 3 225 GBP 500 l Am/Sp sherry butt, peated or unpeated single malt, 10 years storage, 5 650 - 5 800 GBP

Glasgow Distillery 50 l bourbon cask, unpeated single malt, 5 years storage, 870 GBP 100 l bourbon cask, unpeated single malt, 5 years storage, 1 170 GBP 200 l bourbon barrel, unpeated single malt, 5 years storage, 1 970 GBP

They can also fill other cask types if they can source them. They have done sherry and port for customers on occasion.

Sláinte! - Thomas

Scapa Skiren

Scapa Skiren

Nordic Whisky #79 - Teerenpeli Distiller's Choice AURA

Nordic Whisky #79 - Teerenpeli Distiller's Choice AURA