Understand the Terms in Whisky Cask Ownership

There are many technical terms that you are required to understand before buying a whisky cask. While we strive to do our best to assist and explain the various terms, we think that it is important for our buyers to completely understand the terminology before they commit to a cask. Below are some of the common terms used in cask brokerage, of which the most important ones are already highlighted in our cask ownership brochure.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

The alcoholic strength measured as the percentage of alcohol

Age

The age of a whisky is measured by the length of time the youngest spirit has spent in oak casks.

Angel’s Share

Whisky matured in oak casks evaporates at the rate of 2% per annum on average. This “loss” is referred to as Angel’s Share

Bond Storage / Under Bond

Bond storage refers to the duty-free warehouses that store whisky casks. Duty and tax are deferred as long as the casks remain under bond.

Bourbon Barrel

An oak cask that previously held bourbon whiskey. It is estimated to hold about 200 litres of whisky.

Sherry Butt

An oak cask that previously held sherry. It is estimated to hold about 500 litres of whisky.

Hogshead

An oak cask that previously held either bourbon whiskey or sherry. It is estimated to hold about 250 litres of whisky.

Bulk Litre

The physical, total amount of liquid in a cask. It is not a reference to the alcoholic strength of the liquid.

Litres of Pure Alcohol (LPA)

The whisky industry uses LPA to measure the alcoholic content of a spirit. To achieve the LPA, you multiple the bulk litre by the abv of the whisky.

Original Litres of Alcohol (OLA)

The OLA is the original litres of alcohol measured when a cask is freshly filled with spirits. Hence OLA can be the same as LPA (see LPA). A cask maturing in a warehouse for more than a few years will no longer have the same OLA as when it was filled.

Regauged Litres of Alcohol (RLA)

RLA is the re-examination of the cask’s content to re-determine the bulk litres and the alcoholic strength of a cask. It is important for a cask owner to request for a regauge of their cask after purchasing it.

Re-racking

A re-rack of a cask is the transfer of whisky from an old, tired cask to a fresh cask. Owners can request for a re-rack of cask if they tried the cask sample and wanted to change the direction of how their whisky is maturing.

For more information, reach out to Spirits Castle at sales@spiritscastle.sg