Ever wondered how difficult it is to buy and bottle a cask? Follow us from the day we fill our first cask to the day we fill the first bottle and beyond.

Seasons Greetings

Hello everyone. Welcome back, I hope you are well and nicely prepared for the festive season. I’m sure we can all agree it’s been a year that not many of us would like to repeat, but if nothing else 2020 has given us an abundance of online whisky tastings so lets be grateful for small mercies.

Since we went live I’ve been pushing my lack of computer talent to the limit, trying out a few different looks for pages and different sections of the site. I can’t help thinking that I might be a bit out of my IT depth, but it’s a work in progres. As I learn more the experience will improve, I can promise you that.

We have managed to hit a few milestones in the last few months which I’ve been very happy with, and I’d like to thank everyone that’s helped out and everyone that’s given feedback on the page.

We had the site finally go live, and along with my first posts we’ve also had our first set of tasting notes from a guest contributor which I was absolutely over the moon with. To me that’s a sign that the page is heading in the right direction. Though that was a big milestone it wasn’t as big as what came next.

Remember, remember the 5th of November…

Last time I posted l was ‘ just a guy that had put pen to paper on filling a cask’. Well lucky for us amidst what was possibly the biggest milestone of the distilleries short life thus far, after disgorging the casks for their inaugural single malt on the 4th the good people at Raasay Distillery took the time to fill a cask for us on the 5th of November 2020. As I touched on in the first piece, I wouldn’t be around to fill the cask personally due to working 3000 miles away. Strangely it turned out I was in quarantine as I’d just returned to the UK, so I was close but no cigar. This was a great disappointment but it couldn’t be helped. The good news is the distillery have assured me a visit early next year will be possible (once they have reopened for visitors). So although I didn’t get to taste the new make on the day of filling, I’ll still get to taste it in its infancy and there will be tasting notes aplenty.

Some of our social media followers may have previously caught the news that the dream came true and we now have 190 litres of new make spirit sat peacefully maturing in a refill Jack Daniels cask, which was one of the ‘First 45’ casks ever filled by Raasay. I’m unsure if any of you caught it but I shared the predicted flavour profile to our story on Instagram. In case you didn’t catch it, may we introduce to you, the as yet unnamed first cask filled for Wash House Whisky.

As yet unnamed.

A hint of salt from the sea, which I personally hope develops in to a salty old sea dog of a cask. A little cereal with some floral notes of heather and honey. Moving on to the more prominent dark fruits, brambles and cherry. Finally what we all expect from Peated whisky, the bonfire in your mouth. Rather apt for a whisky born on bonfire night don’t you think? These are of course only predictions and when purchasing a cask it is important to remember that. Though the casks currently maturing at Raasay can give us a close indication of how it might turn out, there is never any guarantee how a cask will actually turn out.

If this cask turns out anything like these predictions, it will be a dream come true.

2021

When we visit the distillery there will be a much more in depth look at the process that went into getting the whisky into the cask so that’s something for you to look forward to next year.

So, with the blog up and running-ish, about 50 samples to start making my way through for the tasting pages and our first cask nestled safely away on an idyllic Scottish isle where do we go from here?

Firstly I feel it’s only right to start enjoying all the samples that I’ve saved up, and get the site up to an easily accessible standard so that all of you good people can make the correct decision before making your next purchase, or even just so that you can tell me I’m wrong and that my notes are garbage, after all tasting is subjective. Malts that I like, you may think taste more akin to ‘wet cardboard’ (wet cardboard being one of the greatest tasting notes that I’ve come across. It made me laugh and also ruined a certain lowland whisky for me permanently).

Secondly, start the selection process of the second cask. As it stands there are a few I like the idea of but who’s to say something special won’t come up in the meantime and move us in a totally different direction so watch this spaces.

I have toyed with the idea of taking some of the tastings to YouTube. Initially i made a few recordings with long and boring being an understatement, so they never left the confines of my phone. After talking to a few people and at the request of a few others, I’ve downloaded a video editing program and will give it another go. “From still to sale” will greatly benefit from accompanying video, so the YouTube channel is a must. So far Wash House Whisky on YouTube has a few little unboxing videos that I put together, mainly just to get the hang of the editing software, but feel free to subscribe to watch the channel grow.

Next up distillery tours. We have plenty of pictures of previous distillery visits but writing retrospectively is not one of my strong points. In 2021 I’d like to bring into the fold the spirit, feeling and workings of individual distilleries. This will hopefully include networking, not just with distilleries but other bloggers and whisky drinkers. Next year should bring a lot more structure and time for engagement, so please get in touch with any questions or ideas you may have.

Finally I will be looking into licensing and logistics of how when the time eventually comes we will get the bottles to market. I have 101 ideas for whiskies that I would like to try and produce through ageing and re-racking of casks, these are very costly and time consuming ideas so if I manage to create a few before I lay to rest I’ll die a happy man.

This will probably be the last “From still to sale” of 2020, but the tasting notes will continue. I’d like thank you all again for taking the time to have look, and wish you all a happy and safe end to 2020. In 2021 surely we must all be in for some luck and I’d we aren’t at least we’ve still got the whisky. slàinte mhath