'Single cask' has a simple meaning. Single cask means the whisky came from only one barrel of whisky.
The vast majority of whiskey on the market are 'blends'. Blends are made from whiskies from a range of different distilleries, mixed together. For example, Johnnie Walker. The minority of whiskies are 'single malts'. That means all the whisky came from one single distillery. But, the distillery will use a wide range of casks to make that release.
The tiny minority of bottles sold will be single cask. By their very nature they're rarer. Not all casks are good enough to be bottled by themselves; they need to be mixed with others to balance flavours. A single cask release is unique; something that is so special, it had to be bottled by itself. And, they are fleeting. Each cask will only result in around 300-600 bottles. Once those bottles are gone, that whisky is gone forever.
There are two kinds of companies that release single cask whiskies. The first are the distilleries themselves. Most of the whisky they sell will be single malts. But, some distilleries will occasionally sell a single cask whisky. These tend to be limited edition bottles.
The second, and more common, source of single cask whisky are independent bottlers. Independent bottlers will go around all the distilleries. They'll look through the warehouses and find the best casks. They'll buy and then bottle these casks under their own brand. Independent releases can be a great way to get quality whisky at a fair price.
It is possible to own a cask of whisky yourself. But it's important that you do it the right way. There are rules and regulations to navigate. And you need to be careful you put your money into safe, sensibly priced casks.
If you want to buy or invest in a single cask of whisky, our advice would be to do thorough homework. Find a company you can trust, and look at cask price lists carefully.
We choose to partner with Spiritfilled. They're both expert cask brokers, and independent bottlers. If you want someone to talk to, they'll offer you a free, commitment view on buying and investing in casks. And, if you own a cask you want to sell, they can help you sell that cask. They also have a free cask investment guide, which would be well worth reading.