Private cask ownership has increased in popularity as investors look to diversify their portfolios. With a number of different options available to owners, many decide to bottle their whisky when they feel it is ready to drink.
Private cask bottlings are music to a whisky enthusiast’s ears as they bring a level of diversity which official bottlings cannot offer, the good, the great and the outright strange, that would never otherwise appear on the market, certainly not at such affordable prices.
Whisky.Auction is the ideal platform to sell these bottles. Our auction regularly features private cask bottlings and we’ve picked out a few of our favourites below:
Ardbeg 1991 27 Year Old, 48.5% ABV
Ardbeg 27 Year Old, distilled on 28 February 1991, matured in a single hogshead, and bottled at cask strength on 5 November 2018. One of 149 bottles, it was bottled from cask number 02/54-4.
‘…Perfect balance, between the smoke, the softer coastal elements, the lemons and some lovely sour fruit juice, perhaps rhubarb. It’s extremely Ardbeg, albeit with a softer tone. Touches of custard and white wine sauce, it’s even a tad Meursaulty at times. I’m very fond of this nose…all very good, a tad rustic as some Ardbegs could be, with notes of ouzo, then oysters, lemon, ashes, and a greener kind of liquorice. Some green walnuts too, fino, vin jaune, soft mustard…long, rather more on salted liquorice and simply smoked brine. Kippers…To whom this may concern, well done!’ 90 points, Serge Valentin, Whiskyfun.
Arran 1995 21 Year Old – The Real Mackay, 51% ABV
Arran 21 Year Old distilled on 6 December 1995, matured in a single cask, and bottled at cask strength in June 2017 under the name ‘The Real Mackay’. This was bottled from cask number 95/348.
A fruity, biscuit-y aroma rises from the glass, developing further in the mouth. Some spicy notes and classic vanilla/shaved coconut flavours from the bourbon cask here. A warming but gentle finish to this one.
Lochranza 1996, 50.2% ABV
Lochranza distilled on 7 October 1996 on the Isle of Arran, matured in a single cask for more than 21 years, and bottled in April 2018 at natural cask strength. This was bottled from cask number 1511.
A lovely rich and spicy nose packed full of stewed red fruits. Toffee and sweet spices follow in the mouth alongside classic sherry notes of raisin and fruit peel with a long and mellow finish.
Ben Nevis 1996 19 Year Old, 51.8% ABV
Ben Nevis 19 Year Old distilled in 1996, matured in a single cask and bottled at 51.8% ABV in 2016. This was bottled from cask number 1424.
‘This is right up my alley, with an amazing purity, and yet BN’s traditional fatness and oiliness (rapeseed, grape pips). Fantastic paraffin, chalk, Sancerre, flints, fresh croissants and baguette… Mouth (neat): sweet Jiminy Cricket! Rum reduction, soot, chalk and plaster, mint, liquorice… It’s just a master distillate from a cool, elegant and respectful little cask. With water: perfection made whisky. What’s not perfect here?… Finish: oh my, what a glorious, pure, fat, fruitier, mineral unfolding! A lot of wax in the aftertaste, a bit ala best-year-Clynelish.’ 93 Points, Serge Valentin, Whiskyfun.
Springbank 1993 Cask #444
Springbank distilled in 1993, matured in a fresh sherry cask 444, and bottled at cask strength in 2014. This is one of 274 bottles.
‘Some likely heavy sherry, and some cask owners who were comfortable staying in the shadows…first thing first, very little sulphur, if any. All the rest will be a bed of roses then, with quinces, dried dates, soot, old wine cellar, mushrooms, prunes, old rancio, red peach jam, Bellini (champagne and peach purée), earth, and most naturally, liquorice…leather and earth all over the place, plus this little rubber that’s consubstantial to any good modern Springbank…excellent. Chocolate, bitter oranges, chalk, and soot. Some grease too…long, on bitter oranges and plasticine. Lovely! Comments: not all private casks are/were perfect, but this one was.’ 91 points, Serge Valentin, Whiskyfun.
Springbank 1995 Cask #545
Springbank distilled in 1995, matured in a Fonseca 1970 vintage port cask, and bottled at cask strength in 2014. This is one of 185 bottles.
‘…impeccable waxy greasiness and these whiffs of crushed chalk and Italian lemon sauce that are so marvellous. Some green apples too…pungent, ultra-fresh, bandage-y, mineral, lemony, and rather sour, yeasty, almost bacterial. Not consensual malt whisky for sure, but boy do we love this!…rather long, clean, lemony, oily, chalky.’ 92 points, Serge Valentin, Whiskyfun.
Springbank 1993 Cask #546
Springbank distilled in 1993, aged in a remake sherry cask, and bottled at cask strength in October 2014. This is one of 229 bottles.
Bruichladdich 2005 12 Year Old, 61.2% ABV
Bruichladdich 12 Year Old distilled on 8 June 2005, matured in a fresh bourbon barrel, and bottled at cask strength. This was bottled from cask number 0425.
The label reads: I enjoyed a Bottle of Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch Whisky so much I decided to buy a cask full.
London Distillery Company 109 Cask Edition, 63.5% ABV
The London Distillery Company 109 Cask Edition produced from Plumage Archer barley using 1920s distiller and Whitbread B yeast. The whisky was filled into 20 litre ex-bourbon casks on 9 September 2015, and matured for three years before bottling at cask strength. This is the first cask strength single malt whisky produced in London since the early 1900s.
Vanilla and lots of it. Biscuity and sweet with some floral notes. Very spicy in the mouth, it is a three year old after all, but still retains some of those vanilla elements which are initially present. Could do with adding some water to this one. Having done so, the fire has subsided, allowing the character to come to the fore. A nice citrus (Amalfi lemon) and sweet spice character has formed which creates a pleasant mouthfeel and finish.
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