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The Tale of the Forgotten Cask

Like all good stories, there is a start, middle, and end.

So let’s begin!


The Start:


Our Cask Finish Gin is traditionally matured in Heaven Hill Bourbon casks for 6 months. Bottled at 55% abv and in 70cl bottles. These casks were handpicked by Malcolm Munro from Craigellachie cooperage and over the years I have now accumulated 3 casks.  In February 2019, I filled our cask up for the creation of our Cask Finish Gin 4.  There is no rushing this process – gin sits for 6 months. It is then disgorged, filtered and cut to 55% abv for bottling with each bottle being individually numbered.   Cask 4 was bottled in September 2019.  Now I know your thinking this was ages ago.  It was over 30 months ago and that is when this story started.


Cask 4 sold out in Summer 2021, bearing in mind that from Sept 2019 and Summer 2021 there was a bit of lost time with several lockdowns and a pandemic.  I do recall leaving a wee drop in the Cask, which I had planned to decant in early 2020.  In 2020 our team (my family) after the Christmas break started the distillery renovations to allow Tasting Tours to start that spring and little did any of us know that it would be the longest renovation with the impact of the pandemic.  So I’m sure you can appreciate that the focus changed dramatically with lockdowns and life in general.  Unknown to myself this gin was quietly enjoying itself in the bourbon cask, totally and utterly forgotten about.


The Middle:-

2021 brought about another lockdown/lockin however Tasting Tours were becoming very close to happening.  At long last in June 2021, I hosted our first group in on a Tasting Tour, wonderful family of sisters, mum, nieces, cousins, and grandchild up on holiday, were our very first visitors. A fantastic summer was had sharing the story of Avva Scottish Gin and a significant liking was had to our Cask Finish Gin which resulted in Cask 4 selling out.


The time had come to refill the casks but first they needed a little bit of repair work.  Down came our friend Gordon Duncan with the tools to tighten the metal bands to ensure gin did not leak from the casks when refilled.  On lifting one cask, Gordon noted ‘there’s a bit of spirit in this one?’ It was then I recalled ‘oh so there is…. I forgot there’s a wee drop left in one.’


Gordon’s reply was ‘erm there’s quite a bit in here’ He grabbed an infusion drum and emptied the cask into the drum….. the smell was sensational as the rich, golden liquid cheekily danced out the cask.  ‘Oh, there IS a wee bit more than a wee bit, right, I’ll get a tasting glass!’


I got the glasses and the distilling records and I’ll admit I was a little bit embarrassed that I had forgotten about that wee drop that was left from Cask 4 which had been filled in February 2019! This gin had sat for over 30 months.  It measured 73% straight from the cask, was extremely smooth, and wow what a flavour.  The aroma was magnificently rich and warm and this followed through on the palate with tones of sweet vanilla, honey, a slight spice but this is more on the aftertaste and of course our classic juniper.


Wow, this was exceptional!  This is sensational!


The Beginning of the End:-


What a rare find this was.  Very quickly I knew this was extremely special and rare gin.  The majority of gins that are matured in casks are done over weeks and a few months.  Our Cask Finish at 6 months is classed as quite long.  There is certainly some 12-month maturation about but over 30 months was rare. Very rare.  Such a rare spirit required a different bottle to respect the beautiful golden colour that this gin had now taken on.  Driving through Speyside in October & early November is an absolute riot of colours from rich red to golden yellow.  This gin is a wonderfully rich golden colour, all drawn down from its time spent languishing in the Bourbon Cask.


We then started the basic test of tasting – Wow! Just WOW! Straight from the Cask the gin sat at 73% and is so beautifully smooth with a rich depth of flavour.  Next to try cuts of abv %’s to 60% and 65% along with 55% to compare to our original. All were outstanding but one more so than the others.  I wanted this gin to be distinctly different.


Currently, en-route are 50 of the finest decanter style bottles to house this rare-gin.  Our label is being designed and printed locally which will allow us to individually number each of the 50 bottles.  Each 70cl bottle will be presented in a branded numbered wooden case.


We are lucky to live and work in a region surrounded by those with great spirit knowledge and palates and have welcomed a very special group to the distillery last week to sample and supply tasting notes including international visitors. Thank you to the team at Spirit of Speyside, James, Linda, Peter, Mathias, Julie and Corrine – very much appreciate you taking the time to assist us during such a busy week with the festival running.



This gin is special.
This gin is exceptional.
This gin is rare.

This gin is ………………….. The Forgotten Cask. 


The End

There will only be 50 numbered bottles at 65% abv in a beautiful 70cl decanter and presented in a branded numbered wooden case.  

Pre-order will open on the 29th of November.

Avva Santa Sleigh

Final Posting Date For Christmas - 21st December