The search for the next great cask – the adventure begins!

I just arrived back from Europe on Sunday, a little jet-lagged I must admit! The purpose of my trip was to search for unique whiskies and other spirits for Vine & Table’s single cask program. I’ve found over the years that going directly to the source, whether that be a distillery or an independent bottler, tends to yield much better results than simply obtaining samples and purchasing stateside. Going to the source allows me to put a face to a name, connect on a deeper level than can be done via email, and build relationships, which I have always maintained is critical in this business. There are important questions to be asked when buying a barrel full of spirits, and one tends to get more honest and forthright answers when face to face. And when it comes to selecting barrels, the opportunity to go deeper within a producer’s portfolio is of course a game changer when you are

standing amongst the barrels themselves, something that cannot be done by simply looking at a list while sitting at one’s desk.

This is exactly what happened back in 2016, when I spotted a barrel of twenty year old single malt from the long lost Imperial Distillery laying on the cold earthen floor in a warehouse in Scotland’s southern Highlands. That whisky was not on the list and was not for sale. However, after a couple of hours spent chatting and getting to know Des McCagherty, ‘the fixer’ at Signatory Vintage Independent Bottlers, the curtain was pulled back and this gem of a cask was offered up to us.

And gems are what I went in search of last week, delicious individual and limited expressions of not just Scotch but Cognac too, as this time around my travels took me to France as well, in and around Bordeaux and up to the Cognac region in search of elusive barrels to bring home. I met some lovely people in both countries, and tasted some amazing things.

Of course by now the question that you may be asking is, what did I find and what am I bringing into the store for you?

My answer will be revealed over the coming weeks as I document my journey around Scotland and France, in the search for the next great cask! Click below to sign up to receive updates on my travels, and be the first on the list when these amazing discoveries become available!


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 Vine & Table #301