Single cask whisky investment: a beginners guide

In this article, we're going back to basics, with an introduction to single cask whisky investment.

What is single cask whisky?

All scotch whisky has to be aged in an oak barrel for a minimum of three years - often longer. That oak barrel is called a cask. Cask sizes vary significantly, but a typical cask may hold the equivalent of around 300 bottles of whiskies.

99% of whiskies on the market will be made by mixing together many different casks. Where all those casks come from one distillery, and are made using only malted barley, this is called a single malt. Where the casks come from more than one distillery, but again use only malted barley, this is a blended malt.

So, what's a single cask whisky? This is where a whisky has been bottled from only one cask. These are, in open market terms, rare and often exclusive. They tend to be artisan releases that showcase a particular distillery style or a certain whisky character.

What is single cask whisky investment?

Single cask whisky investment is the process of buying a single cask of whisky, holding it for a period of time, and then looking to sell for a benefit. The key advantage here is that the whisky continues to develop in the cask over time; the flavour improves. This development of flavour increases the value and desirability of the cask, supporting higher value potential.

What are the steps to single cask whisky investment?

  • At a high-level, the process of investing in single cask whisky is:
  • Decide upon a sensible budget that won't stretch you, and a sum you can afford to keep locked away in a cask for several years.
  • Choose a broad category of cask that you're interested in. For example, you may be interested in a certain flavour profile.
  • Find casks that meet your brief, and ensure they are priced at fair market value.
  • Do your due diligence on both the cask and the seller.
  • Complete the paperwork, ensuring clear ownership transfer, and then finalise payment.
  • Hold your cask for a number of years, in a government-regulated bonded warehouse in Scotland. There may be storage and insurance fees, so again do your due diligence. Make sure someone is monitoring your cask.
  • When you're ready to sell, get a fair valuation and put your cask on the market. Once you get an offer you're happy with, draw up the paperwork and complete the sale.

How does one invest in single cask whisky?

There are a variety of routes, but perhaps the easiest starting point is via a whisky cask broker. They can help you with each of the steps above. And, importantly, they'll have a wide set of connections to buy casks from, and sell casks to.

Single cask whisky investments with Spiritfilled

We're a cask broker. We help our clients with single cask whisky investments every day. If you'd like to learn more, we'd be pleased to help. We've written a free guide to single cask whisky investment which you can download here. And, if you'd like to talk with one of our experts, you can request a free, no obligation, consultation here.

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