The venerable Whiskycast podcast last week featured whiskey writer Jonny McCormick, who wrote a cover story for the current issue of Malt Advocate magazine on a growing trend among whiskey lovers — buying your own cask. The article itself isn’t online, but the interview with McCormick is pretty interesting.
Here’s how it works. You plop down anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 for an entire cask of fresh whiskey (or whisky, if it’s Scotch). The price depends on the quality of the whiskey and the type of barrel (sherry is more expensive than bourbon barrels). The distillery then ages the cask for you, sending you periodic samples upon request. Some whiskies peak at 8 – 10 years, while others can go as long as 25 years or more in the barrel.
Once the good stuff is ready, the distillery will usually help you contract out for a special bottling and labeling (they won’t put the stuff in their bottles for legal reasons). In the end, you get about 100 bottles of your favorite whiskey with a customized label. Then you drink yourself silly, lie down sideways on the carpet, and try to eat a hamburger.
McCormick himself bought a cask of Bruichladdich for his wedding a few years back, and intends to leave it in the cask until his 25th anniversary. In related news, Father Scott bought a six pack of Budweiser that he plans to age at least until next Tuesday.