Two hundred years ago, malt whisky was carried through Scotland in small casks that were easily transported on the backs of packhorses. As transportation methods improved, Scottish distillers turned to more economical larger casks, which became today's uniform standard for maturation. Until now. Realizing that using the original small cask maturation process would be an innovative way to add new character, some distilleries are now using the octave and quarter casks again. I talked to Ken Young over at Preiss Imports today on my lunch break and was very excited to learn about their new cask program that will offer Quarter and Octave casks as well. Even better: YOU, THE CUSTOMER, CAN BUY THEM YOURSELVES! That's crazy! They will bottle it for you, as well. I love the fact that I as a retailer can buy only 70 bottles of something and have it be totally unique and one of a kind. A cask of whisky is a giant commitment (350 bottles to be exact), and, for a retailer of our size, we could never afford to invest in more than one at a time. I can't wait to get the list of what's currently aging in the 1/8th barrel size. Quarter cask whiskies are usually much more potent because of the greater whisky to wood ratio, as seen in the crazy popular Laphroaig 10 Year Quarter Cask, which seems to sell out every single week. Duncan Taylor, the indie bottler that Preiss works with, also has an extensive full cask list as well, so look for some exciting upcoming opportunities, both for K&L and for you the consumer. I've heard rumors of a 2002 Ardbeg in Octave (it ages faster!). Wow.
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