Visiting Edradour

Whisky tasting from a barrel, but would you buy a barrel?

Whisky tasting straight from a barrel? My first experience was back in 2015.

My wife and I toured The Balvenie in the heart of Speyside. It was a brilliant 3 hours. Towards the end, and before we entered the tasting room, we were treated to two barrels. They were called “the members’ drams”.

The first was 41 year old, 53.7%, slightly smokey, bourbon cask. The second came from a sherry cask at 62.5%. We bought the latter. I don’t remember the price. However, it was only a half bottle, and it was not cheap. One of the last drops was shared with our lawyer to honour the purchase of our house.

Honestly, I wish I had had the money to buy both casks. And since then, I have been to the warehouse tour at Lagavulin, led by the great Iain McArthur. I have wandered around the treasures of Edradour (see picture). And I have been fortunate enough to taste from the official barrel from Ruach, a new distillery in Israel……. amongst others.

But would I buy a whole whisky cask as an investment?

I have been asked this question several times just recently. So let me give you some pointers.

First, wearing my hat as a business mentor, I remind all my clients that another word for investment is ‘risk’. You can make a fortune, or you need only lose up to 100% of the original value!

Second, whilst a few years back there were big profits to be made from pre-buying casks, those margins have narrowed significantly in the past 2 years, for numerous reasons.

Third, this is an industry full of sharks and other predators. There are scams galore.

Fourth, as with every other investment, – stocks, horses, property – know your facts, and have them verified. Here is a partial list of questions to be asked in advance:

  • Do you receive a certificate of ownership?
  • Will you receive a receipt of payment?
  • How do you know that a good cask has been used?
  • How will the cask be stored?
  • Costs of storage, annual insurance, selling the cask mid term, etc?
  • What happens when it comes to bottling?

As I say, a partial list only!

A couple of weeks back, Ralfy featured this subject for a second time on his vlogs. See The video has been seen over 5,000 times. So, a fair number of people must think he knows what he is talking about.

I am not telling you not to buy.

I am suggesting that as with everything else that costs a lot of money relatively, carry out your due diligence thoroughly and double check answers to your questions. And then check again.

Time for dram. Slainte!


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