For some whisky aficionados, a bottle of premium rare scotch is enough of a victory acquisition. For others, only their own cask of the good stuff will suffice. And then some want to go further still. Increasingly, for those who want it just so – perhaps a 30-year-old Glenfiddich housed in a refill ex-bourbon cask at the distillery, then reracked in an ex-sherry cask by a specialist broker – the only way to do this is via the specialised world of bespoke spirits. Although that pursuit can start at a reasonable few thousand dollars, once connoisseurs get to curating their own casks of aged Macallan or blending their own amber from ghost distillers, prices can quickly rise into the US$2.5 million range.
Cask 88 is one such service, where customers can create their own bespoke whisky by buying a youngish cask, rehousing the liquid in different woods and dictating when it is bottled. The company is in close contact with warehouses and private owners of casks across Scotland, keeps a beady eye on auctions and occasionally goes directly to a distillery to source a special barrel. But the old and rare casks, which make up the majority of the ones Cask 88 trades, are found on the secondary market.
The whisky can be finished in a hand-cut crystal decanter, and custom artwork may grace the bottle.
“This is really for those who are looking for something of a particular age or distillery, that’s been distilled in a specific year, and is largely wanted for themselves, a loved one, or child,” says Jonny Fowles, European sales director for Cask 88. “If we don’t have something specific, we can recommend different flavour profiles.” Prices range from US$2,000 for a young cask from a Highland or Speyside distillery in refill oak to US$2.5 million for an aged Macallan or Dalmore cask. A concierge from Cask 88’s Edinburgh office will guide clients through the process to find a bespoke cask, whether
“If we don’t have something specific, we can recommend
different flavour profiles.”
Go beyond the mere prizedbottle and acquire – and age – your own barrel of Scotch. Facing page: a rare cask of Japanese whisky sourcedby Cask 88.