Kilchoman – bottled 2012
This cask gave the birth to the «50OF5» Whisky Club. With a naive approach from our side („Ha ha, we buy a whisky cask, since it is like buying a bottle of whisky, right!“) we got big help from the Kilchoman distributor Potstill and their head Mario Prinz, who agreed to import the whisky for us as a single cask and did all the necessary paperwork for us.
Also, we were lucky to deal on the distillery side with their first manager John MacLellan who unfortunately passed away in 2016.
Springbank – bottled 2016
With 25 years of age, this is the oldest private cask of Springbank ever bottled! Joint cooperation between Petr Krenek, the organizer of the Maltstock-like Whisky Festival CZ and the «50OF5» Whisky Club. Petr came across the cask through private channels when the whisky was 22 years ago and 44% strong. Should we wait three more years and risk that the whisky will become non-whisky? We took the risk, and were rewarded with 42.2% at the end.
Also, great lesson in talking to a distillery: If a Scott says ‘no’, it’s ‘no’! We got many ‘no” answers from Campbeltown to a long list of requests from our side. Actually, the only positive was to get two different labels into the set of over 250 bottles that the cask yielded. On the other hand, we also stuck to our ‘no’! What was cthe question? “We want to buy the cask back!”
Lot of new distilleries has popped up in recent years. We somehow liked what the northernmost distillery on Scotland’s mainland had been doing. And were also attracted by their cask ownership terms – you can bottle your cask in more batches (conditions apply, of course :-), which means you can follow the development of your whisky from the new make – we visited Thurso to fill our cask by our own – to becoming a whisky and further gaining on age (mind you, in a quarter Islay cask, the liquid develops quickly!)
To be able to compare the development in one vertical tasting (once the cask will have been emptied), the distillery team helped us with a small reserve of same new make that made it into our cask.
Many new distilleries have been established in the Czech republic in recent years. Some took more a marketing approach, some are bound by the limits of their mother company. We like Svachovka and their Old Well whisky thanks to their focus on the liquid and wood experimentation. When their first range of single malts has been introduced at the Whisky Life Festival in Prague in Novemeber 2019, we were keen to agree on a single cask. That happened in 2020, and we are looking forward to bottle our Marsala cask in 2022.
Production note: Moist distilleries apply their double maturation or finish process in a way that the whisky first spends years in a traditional, typically bourbon cask, and then a few month in a cask with less usual provenance. Svachovka’s Master Distiller came with a less usual approach – he initiated the whisky in a Marsala cask after being happy with the cask influence moved it into a bourbon cask for final settlement. Hence, we will have on our bottling the novel text “Marsala Cask Initiated”!
Highland Park VSC 2018
This is why CMWS has been born. One of our members won the HP’s lottery. And because his club was right after some fresh acquisitions, he decided to engage individuals across the “political/club spectrum” to share the cask. The whisky carries an unusual age statement of 12 ½ years. When we received the bottles half a year later, we were extremely excited. And realized that with this x-club approach, we can aspire for more casks than individual clubs could do. For the language experts among you: «òRAN NA BOII» II is a free translation into Scottish Celtic of „Bohemian Rhapsody“, Bohemia meaning in this case the central part of Czech republic.
Highland Park VSC 2020
After the success of the HP VSC cask in 2018/2019, we were keen to get our hands on the HP casks again. And when HP announced a second round of their lottery, we took advantage of the Czech whisky forum run by Nethar and motivated everyone to take part in the lottery. The reward: We won the right to buy two casks, and we also could then choose one European oak cask and one American oak. This time, the whisky is 14yo.
This distillery has been known for producing bulk whisky for supermarkets and other large clients. However, they changed their business strategy and decided to go for single malt and build their brand. We had a chance to taste many fantastic single casks in Vienna (thank you, Scott Adamson!) and it became clear very quickly we would love to acquire a private cask. Despite difficulties with corona, we could choose from a nice line up of casks, and finally decided for a first ever 21yo Verdejo cask bottled by Tomatin.
Billy Walker (with two business partners) bought the distillery in 2017, and quickly applied the same business model he used for his previous distilleries. We had a chance to welcome Billy and Juliette Buchan in Prague at the Whisky Life Prague in 2019.
After a few discussions, a private tasting session and two masterclasses, we knew this is the distillery we would love to get a cask from. And as the interest on our side was really tremendous, we were very pleased that the distillery team agreed to let us buy two casks: a Napa Valley Red Wine and a Chinquapin.