If you are thinking of buying a whisky cask, you may be wondering whether to go for an ex sherry cask. This video and blog will help you decide whether a sherry cask is for you.
The first thing to understand is what a sherry cask actually is in today’s whisky market. You may want to watch this video explaining exactly what a sherry cask is, but very simply sherry casks would be better referred to as ‘sherry seasoned casks’. They are specially created to mature whisky, often designed to do so very quickly.
Once the myths about what a sherry cask is has been debunked, watch and read below to find out whether you should pay the premium to mature your whisky in a sherry cask.
Sherry casks sell for a premium
In today’s market whisky matured in sherry sells for a premium. But does that mean you should go out and buy a sherry cask of whisky? Probably not.
Should you buy a sherry cask direct from a broker?
If you buy a cask direct from a distillery then the whisky inside may have been filled directly into an ex sherry cask. However if you are buying from a broker or dealer it is much more likely that they have re-racked that whisky into a new sherry cask then tacked a premium onto the cask because sherry casks can command a premium in today’s market.
If you are sure you want a sherry casks then instead of paying the premium to the broker or dealer, you can switch to a sherry cask yourself. Simply buy a cheaper boubon cask and re-rack it into sherry, which is more cost effective.
How to re-rack a cask?
First of all, it’s likely that you can only do this if you own your cask outright. So if you haven’t received a delivery order or some other confirmation from the warehouse that you own your cask, the first thing to do is check why and ask your broker to transfer the cask to your name.
You can then buy a sherry cask from a cooperage such as Speyside Cooperage, and arrange with your warehouse for your cask to be re-racked. Costs vary, but you can expect to pay around £700 for the cask plus the admin charge from the warehouse, so it is still likely to be cheaper than buying a cask that is already in sherry.
Should you do this for all your casks?
Re-racking gives you more control over the type of sherry cask you go for and adds value. However the sherry casks produced today are arguably designed for short term maturation. As such you need to be a lot more hands on with the management of your cask or you might over influence your whisky.
The other important consideration is how commercial sherried whisky will be in 10 to 15 years time when you come to sell your cask. One way to get around this is to use the fast maturation of sherry casks and re-rack later in your ownership when you can be sure your whisky will benefit from re-racking in terms of flavour and value.
So if you want a sherry cask for you whisky, we would suggest buying an ex-bourbon cask, maturing it for a few years and then deciding whether you want to shift to sherry via re-racking.