We whisky folk are obsessed with being single. Sometimes single malt isn’t even enough, we need a single cask! Perhaps it’s a longing for the days of our youth. When I was a lad of 18 summers, before I met the future Mrs Hamish, I would run wild and free around Inveraray, dropping into the bar at the George whenever I fancied, staying till all hours of the night without a care in the world. Once I met the lady in my life, after a whirlwind romance, I settled down and inevitably my visits to the George became much more organised. “Be home by 10” she’d say. And I’d nod.

The Bar at the George and the sweet taste of youth – and whisky! (via The George Hotel)

But I digress. What makes a single cask so special? Surely a single malt is the best there is: pure and untainted by the supposed grain devil (although don’t get me started on that one – just try The Loch Fyne Blend and you’ll put that myth to bed!). Well, think of your favourite single malt. Now consider how many barrels go into the blending process to make enough of that malt for the market and make sure any slight impurities are stopped in their tracks. When you buy a single cask whisky, you’ve found one of the very best barrels in the distillery, the epitome of what they do. Why would you want to lose those characteristics amongst the many thousands of litres that go into the vatting?

Talisker Distillery IICasks resting in the Talisker warehouse (via Christian Kadluba)

Single casks have long been a passion of mine. Whenever a good one landed on the shelves at Loch Fyne, we’d make sure our customers knew about it. Over the years, with the invention of t’internet and the like, we decided we’d make it even easier for our customers to spot a great single cask: we’d put it in one of our own bottles so they couldn’t miss it! We started with a fantastic 14 year old sherry butt from Bunnahabhain in December 2015 and it wasn’t long before all 960 bottles had sold out. Next up, we discovered a cracking sherry cask at Craigellachie distillery that we couldn’t resist bottling. Only 525 of this 10 year old were made and again they flew off the shelves. I think it’s fair to say the next expression would have big boots to fill! Fortunately for us, we took a wee trip to Speyside and happened upon not one, but two remarkable sherry casks in Keith. The first, an 8 year old from Glentauchers, is a rarely seen bottling. The distillery has only produced one official bottling (a 15 year old) and one semi-official bottling to celebrate its centenary. In the warehouse we found a top class sherry cask that had been distilled in May 2008 and, once we’d had a taste, we couldn’t resist. After the absolute minimum filtration, we bottled it at 46% abv, giving just 1100 bottles.
We came across the second cask at Aultmore distillery. Distilled in March 2007 and matured for a full decade, this one took me straight back to my youth. Wandering into the sweetie shop and being surrounded by sherbet, bonbons and bags of candyfloss. We bottled this one at 46% too, the perfect strength to enjoy the full array of flavours in this tremendous single cask, giving us just 1130 bottles.
Both these belters are waiting for you to enjoy in the shop and on our website. We’ve managed to make sure there are more bottles available this time round, but stock is still limited by the nature of single casks, so if you want to experience these fantastic Speyside single malts, I suggest you don’t dawdle!