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Re-racking Whisky Casks Explained
Re-racking Whisky Casks Explained
Re-racking Whisky can considerably increase its value and desirability, but what is it and how do you re-rack your casks?

As whisky matures, it continually interacts with the wood in which it lies. Over time, this interaction subtly changes the whisky’s flavour profile. Due to a steady supply and low cost, casks sourced from the United States, which previously held bourbon, are most commonly used to mature Scotch Whisky.

More exotic casks, such as ex-sherry or rum, can be dramatically more expensive than bourbon and therefore they aren’t always an option to age whisky for the full maturation period. That said, these casks can still be used to influence the whisky, thanks to a process called re-racking. 

What Is Re-Racking?

Re-Racking is the term used by the whisky industry for pouring whisky from one cask into another. The process is completed in the bonded warehouse and allows the whisky to be “finished” in a different cask in order to change its dynamics.

What is a finishing cask?

A finishing cask is a new cask that has held a different spirit to the cask currently ageing the whisky. Finishing casks have usually held expensive and luxurious spirits such as red wine, sherry, port, tequila and rum. Virgin oak casks that have never held a spirit before may also be used for the finishing process.

As these casks are more valuable to purchase, many whiskies are re-racked into them and left to finish their maturation. This allows the whisky to take on some of the flavour and characteristics of the wood, without the expense of using the cask for the full maturation period. 

The shorter maturation period in these casks also allows the finishing cask to be reused, again lowering the price for those wanting a more luxurious flavour profile. As spirit trends come and go, the use of a finishing cask allows high-quality aged whiskies to be finished in a way that will appeal best to customers.

Re-Racking Options

Thanks to recent changes by the Scotch Whisky Association, more variety of casks than ever before can be used to mature Scotch Whisky. 

These include casks that have been used to traditionally mature other alcohol such as beer, ale, wine or spirits. It’s important to note that these casks must not have been used to mature alcohol that has had flavouring, fruit, or sweetening added, either after fermentation or distillation. 

As cider is not a beer or ale, these casks can not be used. Likewise, because gin is not naturally matured in casks, it can not be used. 

Typical cask options include:

• Red Wine
• Port
• Tequila
• Mezcal

• Bourbon
• Rye

• Virgin Oak

Re-Rack Your Cask

Re-racking your cask can significantly improve its desirability and value for a relatively small cost. Here at Whisky Investment Partners, we can help you re-rack your existing casks and even advise which type of cask should be used.

To get a quote for your cask to be re-racked, please speak to your Senior Portfolio Manager or click here to send an enquiry. 

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