IMG_0036

Looking for a gift for the person who has everything? Membership in Virginia Distillery Co.’s Cask Society just might be the answer.

But prepare to ante up.

For a mere $9,990, you can purchase a cask of single-malt whisky and have ownership of it through the aging process.

Yes, nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety George Washingtons, plus tax.

That hefty sum buys you a cask — and many perks — and VDC guarantees you’ll get 250 bottles of its American Single Malt from the cask.

Multiply the 250 by VDC’s anticipated rate of $69 to $89 for its own single malt when it’s released in 2020, and suddenly what looks like an extravagance becomes a deal. (Those totals are $17,250 to $22,250 for those without a calculator nearby).

“The Cask Society represents a good investment as purchasing at the time of filling the barrel enables much better pricing than purchasing once the product is in the bottle,” said Gareth Moore, CEO of Lovingston-based Virginia Distillery Co.

“The economics work well both for consumers and for VDC because of the timeline, the volume and the company’s desire to bring brand enthusiasts closer together.”

Still don’t want to plunk down 10Gs? Then get a group together to make the purchase.

That’s exactly what the Glenmore Whisky Club did.

Started in 2010 by friends with a mutual taste for scotch — and other spirits — the club has about 50 members, many of whom live in the Glenmore residential community in Keswick.

Twenty-one of those members banded together to buy shares in a cask. Most purchased one share, some more. Each share will net about 10 bottles once the whisky is bottled.

To reach that point, the whisky has to be aged. In the Cask Society program, that means a minimum of four years.

“At that time we will bottle some and take the rest and mature it in a port or sherry cask for another six months or so,” said Glenmore Whisky Club spokesman Skip Platt.

Ah, the cask. Though used sherry and wine casks were options, the Glenmore group chose a used bourbon barrel from a Kentucky distillery for the initial aging process, which began nearly a year ago.

“Shortly after Christmas 2016, it was my honor to represent our group to fill our barrel and ‘drive home the bung,’ ” said club member Greg Whitmer.

“We were able to taste the new-make spirit prior to filling the barrel, and VDC provided a small sample for the rest of our group to taste at our next gathering. We are coming up on our whisky’s one-year anniversary (Dec. 28), and they will give us another small sample for tasting. It will be fun to taste the influence of one year in a used bourbon barrel.”

Glenmore’s whisky was put in the Cask Society’s Barrel No. 1, and “VDC prepared a customized barrel head to commemorate our position in the Cask Society,” Whitmer said.

VDC provided the Glenmore club with a duplicate of the customized barrel head to display at Platt’s home, where the club meets about once a month. Also on display is an engraved whisky thief, an instrument used to pull out small samples of whisky to sample. Early next year, a customized label will be designed with the guidance of VDC.

Cost for purchasing a cask of this totally Virginia-made single malt varies. Entry level is $9,990, but fees go as high as $30,810, including tax, for a single cask of whisky aged eight years in a used sherry barrel.

VDC’s Cask Society is open to groups and individuals, and two brothers of Scottish ancestry own the only other cask sold at this point. The good news is that VDC is exploring the possibility of allowing unrelated parties to share a cask.

Which would allow all scotch lovers to have a unique experience.

“Our goal in creating VDC’s Cask Society was enabling enthusiasts to connect with our product in an intimate way across time — from filling the barrel, tasting it over time, all the way to bottling when the whisky is mature,” Moore said.

Mission accomplished and, yes, it’s the gift for a person who has (almost) everything.

Jack Berninger’s column on spirits and wine appears every other week in the Culture section. Contact him at jberninger@timesdispatch.com.

Commenting is limited to Times-Dispatch subscribers. To sign up, click here.
If you’re already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.