Spiritfilled: independent bottler and whisky cask broker

We love whisky. And we count ourselves lucky that we get to work with whisky every day of the week. In this blog, we thought we'd write about the two halves of what we do.

Whisky cask broker

Spiritfilled started as a whisky cask broker, and it remains a big part of what we do today. There are arguably three main aspects to being a whisky cask broker: buying, managing, and selling whisky casks.

Buying whisky casks

It all starts with buying whisky casks and, indeed, helping our private clients to buy whisky casks. Over the years we've been able to build a wide network of sources, giving us several routes to buying the best whisky casks. These include: distilleries, particularly for younger casks; industry contacts, including independent bottlers and other cask brokers; and, private individuals. As with anything, key to buying is getting good quality casks at a fair market price. Having a wide network, combined with our experience of the industry, allows us to ensure we do exactly this.

Managing whisky casks

Naturally, the key factor when it comes to whisky casks is time. Casks need time. It's this investment in time that allows the whisky to age, slowly developing and improving while in wood, ultimately becoming more delicious - and more desirable. All casks have to be stored in government-regulated bonded warehouses. And in the case of scotch whisky, these bonded warehouses have to be based in Scotland.

The process isn't as entirely passive as one might think. Because casks are made from wood, itself an organic, ever-changing, material, they require careful monitoring. We have to keep an eye on them to ensure they remain watertight (whisky tight!) with no cracks, splits or warping. It is also best practice to monitor the whisky itself in the casks. In part to ensure the angels aren't taking a greater-than-expected share, in part to ensure the ABV doesn't drop below the legal minimum of 40% ABV, and in part to monitor flavour. To that last point, it is important to note that while time will certainly improve flavour, there are limits to this rule. It is possible to over-oak whiskies, particularly older whiskies.

Selling whisky casks

After managing the casks for a period of time, the point comes where we, or our private clients, will want to sell. This is a largely-similar process to buying casks, except reversed. We reach out to our wide network of contacts, in particular seeking out contacts we think would be interested in a certain cask. We'll negotiate a price that is both rewarding yet fair, complete the paperwork, and the cask is sold.

Independent bottler

While many of our casks may eventually be sold on, this isn't always the case. Some casks we keep, bottle, and release under our Mythical Beasts label. This leads us on to the second key aspect of our work, that of an independent bottler.

An independent bottler will bottle whiskies, often single casks, from a wide range of distilleries under their own private label.

This is the perfect route for us, where we simply fall in love with a particular cask. We aim for maximum flavour. We bottle at cask strength, without chill filtration, and with no artificial colour. And, to further enhance flavour, we also look at cask finishing. This is where we take the whisky out of its original cask and transfer it to a secondary cask for a certain period. This process layers further flavour into the whisky.

Learn more about Spiritfilled

If you'd like to learn more about Spiritfilled, you can read more about buying whisky casks by downloading our free guide here, and you can see our latest range of independent bottlings here.

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