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It's no cask-iron guarantee if you splash your cash

By Features Reporter

Last time we looked at the whisky collectors’ market but what about going one further, buying a cask?

There are a number of new distilleries such as Ardnamurchan, Lindores Abbey and Ncn’ean which are all offering you the opportunity to purchase a cask.

Firstly, you really need to consider that whisky takes a long time to mature so this is not something you should be looking at if you’re wanting a quick return. It might be at least a decade before you see a return on your investment and similar territory if you’re planning drinking it.

Buying a cask of whisky is a long-term investment but is it worth the wait?
Buying a cask of whisky is a long-term investment but is it worth the wait?

Buying a cask is a charming idea. As well as deciding on which distillery, you have to decide on the type and size of cask. This will affect the cost. Sherry casks tend to command a higher price than bourbon casks and larger casks require more new-make spirit to fill them so are inevitably more expensive.

Raasay Distillery is offering a 30-litre cask for a tantalising initial purchase price of £999. Now before you get too excited, the key word in that sentence is “initial”.

As well as the purchase price there are warehousing costs, insurance and the real sting in the tail comes when you want to take your cask out of the warehouse. At the point the cask is released, you will face duty at the prevailing rate, plus VAT as well as the bottling costs themselves.

Sticking with the Raasay example, the whisky gurus at scotchwhisky.com have estimated the total cost of a 70cl bottled at 46 per cent abv would be £50

I personally think that buying a cask filled with new-make spirit is a risky purchase. Distilleries all seem to be increasing production, laying down enough alcohol to be self-sufficient.

Therefore the chances of a big brand buying back your one cask is slim.

Matt MacPherson is the owner and founder of The Malt Room in Inverness.

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