On Curating Casks and Bottles
Multiple Casks from the Same Distillery and Your Collection's Story
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has mastered the art of curating when it comes to bottling unique casks, but did you know that not every cask purchased by the Society gets qualified to bottle?
The cask obtained must pass the noses and palates of our expert tasting panel to a specific degree. If it does not, SMWS won’t bottle it. But what will happen to the pricey cask if it fails the tasting panel?
Maybe we woke the cask up too early. Perhaps the cask will go back to sleep, to be awoken again in a few more years’ time. Or perhaps it will be redistributed, to be born into a different life elsewhere, outside of the Society. It might go on to live in a spectacular blend somewhere, where it may be exactly what the master blender was looking for in their recipe!
The destiny of single casks of Scotch whisky truly is remarkable. Within the right hands, casks will flourish. And as we know, the Society is a maestro when it comes to qualifying single cask whisky.
When it comes to our unique at-home whisky collections, we too are master curators. The art of collecting single casks takes deliberate skill. Perhaps we are set on having representation from all twelve SMWS flavor profiles. Or perhaps we stick to what we love, and have a range of “oily & coastal”, to “heavily peated”. Maybe we isolate our collection to a few regions, ones we’ve visited and fallen in love with. Whatever our method, our collections tell our unique stories.
Within the numerous schools of thought behind the strategy we put into our personal Society collections, one question comes up time and time again. Aside from the obvious of age and cask-type, how do we classify multiple casks from the same distillery?
Outlook One - Two Casks, Same Home: The More the Merrier!
As lovers of whisky, we are familiar with styles indicative of the regions we love. We became Society members with high hopes to collect casks from distilleries we know and love. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of this, having collected four casks of one of my favorite Islay distilleries over the last six months! Some might wonder though, aside from the obvious of cask type and age, what sets these casks apart?
Outlook Two - A Cask From Each Distillery
With the Society partnering with over 100 distilleries in Scotland today and 130 around the world, we have our sights set on collecting them all. Why, oh why, would you want numerous casks from the same distillery? If you find yourself thinking this often, you likely have the distilleries codes memorized and arranged your casks at home numerically. I’m with you on this: having a special cask from as many distilleries as possible is a must. We’ve discovered rare gems this way we might of otherwise not have tried.
What have your experiences been in comparing two or more casks from the same distillery? What goes in to the art of curating your home collection? Whisky emails are the best emails! Write in to Amanda.Victoria@smws.com