A day in the life.. An interview with Tom from The Single Cask

With more and more independent bottlers appearing and more single cask bottlings available it’s hard to know in which direction to turn !

Just recently I have been introduced to a new kid on the block as they say and I  have been  rather impressed with what I have tasted and seen from these guys, so it only seemed right to have a chat and get to know them and what they are offering..

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A day in the life.. Tom from the single cask..

Can you tell us about the company and your day to day job / what is involved. 
The Single Cask is all about searching for the best whisky! That can mean something we’ve never quite seen before, or a cask that on paper looks like nothing special but stands out as an exceptional dram when we try it. This was all started by our company director Ben, when he was importing Scotch whisky in Asia and began exploring single cask bottlings. Now we have a small team based around the world (we still have our spiritual home, The Single Cask whisky bar, in Singapore), and everyone gets involved; lots of exchanging notes and planning our next bottlings.
I’m based in Scotland, so I look after our cask collection but also attend lots of events in the UK/Europe, coordinate distribution/retail and write for the website, which means my day to day is pretty varied.
 
 
Why did you decide on a career in the world of whisky

The whisky industry in Scotland has always struck me as being unique for a number of reasons, not just for its internationally renowned product. My university business studies were focussed on the fascinating way in which competing whisky companies seem to cooperate to a surprising degree; somehow this led to a ‘research trip’ to Islay to speak to several distillery managers and I’ve been hooked ever since.

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What does whisky mean to you?

For me whisky is made special by its community. Everybody is very welcoming, passionate about what they do and willing to share their knowledge and enthusiasm.

 
What is it that you enjoy the most about the industry

I always enjoy getting out to different events and talking to people about what we do. Our tasting events are always a highlight, as we make it our mission to only bottle whiskies that we ourselves find very interesting, so it’s great fun to hear feedback. For example our heavily peated English whisky always takes people by surprise and leads to some great discussions!

 
What has surprised you most about the industry

The level of knowledge never fails to surprise me. Not just in terms of people working in the industry but also in speaking to consumers, there’s a tremendous appreciation for the complexity of whisky on both sides, which ensures work will never be boring.

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What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?

Tough to pick a favourite, though sunny evenings with friends involving whisky, cigars and ideally a barbecue have to be up there. Living in Scotland those occasions can be few and far between…

 
 
With all the NAS and various cask finishes available, what do you predict to be the next big innovation in whisky?

It’s difficult not to be biased, but speaking to so many whisky enthusiasts in the last couple of years there has been a lot more appreciation for every aspect of a whisky, not just the age. People ask us about filtration, bottling strength, cask history, etc. More and more producers, not just here in Scotland but around the world, are pushing boundaries and skirting close to the line in terms of what is acceptable/expected. I even tried some bacon-infused whiskey recently…

It feels like anything is fair game, as long as there’s no deception. That’s why our team tries to remain open-minded when selecting casks. We make a point of keeping all of our whiskies as natural as possible, straight from the cask to the bottle, and there are a lot of surprises out there; we want to let the spirit speak for itself. So watch this space!

 
Have you got a favourite whisky?
I seem to have a different favourite for every day of the year. It really is impossible to pick just one, though I do think a proper whisky should always have at least a hint of peat to it, so Islay whiskies are always on my radar. That being said I think the best whisky we’ve ever bottled was an 18 year old Linkwood!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. sorrenkrebs says:

    I shall find out for you 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this fantastic interview! Tom’s answers not only make an interesting read, but also display him as a very sympathetic fellow. Now where can I get to try that Linkwood 18yo he mentioned in the end? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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