27 Nov 2023

How to buy a cask of Whisky

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Have you ever wondered how to buy a cask of Whisky but are not sure where to start?

Purchasing a private whisky cask is an exciting prospect yet can be quite daunting if you are unfamiliar with the process. Don’t worry though, we’ve put together a quick guide to buying a cask of The Borders Distillery whisky, which will help you navigate the process.

1837 Private Cask program Borders Distillery

About The Borders Distillery

Established in the town of Hawick, The Borders Distillery became the first whisky distillery to bring back the tradition of distilling to the Borders region since 1837. We make blended Scotch whisky as well as other spirits and are on a journey to producing our very own single malt whisky in the coming years. Our commitment lies in capturing the spirit of the Borders region and revitalising whisky-making in the process.


What is a Whisky Cask?

A whisky cask is a wooden barrel, made of oak, used for maturing new-make spirit into Scotch whisky. The cask will have previously held another alcoholic spirit – most often bourbon, rye, or rum – which imparts unique flavours, colours and characteristics to the whisky during the maturation process.


Owning a Private Whisky Cask

You can buy your own whisky cask directly from us at The Borders Distillery.

Many people buy whisky casks as gifts for friends or family to mark a special occasion – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas – or they simply want to bottle a piece of Borders’ history for themselves.

The cost of purchase is £2400, which includes:

  • New make spirit
  • Your choice of cask
  • Filling
  • Warehousing
  • Insurance
  • Bottling
  • Labelling
  • 1837 membership and dedicated 1837® Private Cask app



You can choose to fill your whisky into one of four different cask types, all of which have been selected by our experienced whisky-makers to complement the character of our new make spirit.

American Oak ex- Bourbon Casks: Fresh Fill

The classic cask for maturing Scotch whisky. These casks subtly infuse the spirit with nuanced flavours, often imparting notes of vanilla and meadow flowers on the nose with a ‘dry’ finish.

American Oak ex-Bourbon Casks: Refill

Refill casks are ex-bourbon casks which have also been used to mature Scotch whisky for between three and six years. They tend to produce a sweeter finish than fresh fill casks.

American Oak ex-Rye Whisky

A recent addition to the roster of casks used for maturing Scotch whisky, these casks were formally used in ageing American rye whiskey and impart a spicy note, coupled with an earthy character and a ‘tart’ finish.

American Oak ex-Rum

These casks have been previously used for ageing rum for up to three years. As you might expect, ex-rum casks impart sweet notes to the whisky, with hints of dark fruit, caramel, and vanilla.



It is entirely your decision as to when to fill your cask.

You have the option to specify the month and day for filling, allowing you to commemorate special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. Providing advance notice increases the likelihood of us meeting your preferred filling date.

Your selected cask will be filled with new make spirit at 63.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), with a variable capacity typically ranging from 190 to 200 litres. Upon filling, you’ll receive a signed certificate from one of our founders and a commemorative hip flask.



Once your individually numbered cask has been filled, it will be sent to our warehouse to begin the maturation process where we will store and manage your cask for the initial ten years. If you would like to keep your cask maturing for longer than the included ten years, we can arrange additional storage with associated costs.


1837® Private Cask App

A year after your cask has been filled, you’ll be invited to download our 1837® Private Cask App which is available for members in both IOS and Android format. Through the app you’ll be able to see the process of your cask maturing via a ‘spidergram’ developed by our whisky-making team.


Bottling & Labelling

We recommend bottling your cask after ten years of maturation. Your cask can be bottled at an ABV of between 40% or at full cask strength, which could be anywhere between 53% and 60% ABV.

We’ll arrange bottling and labelling for you. There will be a label template to choose from at the time of bottling, but if you would like to design your own custom labelling, that can be arranged at an extra cost.


Tax and duties

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”) levies an excise charge (“Duty”) based on the percentage of pure alcohol contained within a bottle. In addition, HMRC levies value added tax (“VAT”) at a rate of 20% on the combined purchase price and levied excise charge. 

Both Duty and VAT are payable after bottling when they are released into the UK from the bonded warehouse and are the responsibility of the cask owner. 

At the time of writing, whisky casks purchased for personal use are not subject to the tax on Capital Gains levied in the UK. 

If there is a requirement to export, please note that the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 state that Single Malt Scotch Whisky may only be exported from Scotland in bottles. 

It is important to note that in the view of HMRC, the cask purchaser is responsible for being aware of all regulations, duties, and taxes prevailing in their country of residence or domicile relating to the importation of alcohol. 

The Borders Distillery Company Limited is not authorised by the FCA to promote Scotch Whisky casks as an investment. The 1837 ® scheme is designed to offer pleasure to friends and family and all casks will be filled into bottles. 


Cask Owners’ Benefits

There are numerous benefits to purchasing one of our casks. You’ll receive:

  • Six vouchers for complimentary tours of The Borders Distillery which are fully transferable, so you could even gift them to family members or friends.
  • A discount of 18.37% on all products purchased from The Borders Distillery shop, either in-person or on-line.
  • Early access to advance sales of our future limited-edition whisky releases.
  • As a small thank you for becoming a cask owner, you’ll also receive a small commemorative hip flask – one of only 1,837 made especially for The Borders Distillery.
  • A dedicated ‘1837’ member newsletter.


Next Steps…

If you’re interested in purchasing a private cask, you can fill in the online form. Alternatively, email us at 1837@thebordersdistillery.com, or call us on 01450 374 330 and we’ll explain the process in detail and answer any questions you have.

borders refill cask


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