When you buy a cask of whisky for investing purposes one key concept that you should understand as an investor is regauging. This process is a vital part of the maturation process and is used to determine the value of your cask, alongside other factors. At its heart, regauging is a health check on the liquid inside the cask to ensure that it can still legally be considered scotch.
As we have mentioned in previous articles, the Angel’s Share is the natural evaporation of whisky while it matures inside the cask. This is caused by the temperature and the porous wood of the cask itself. Regauging is the method used to check how much liquid is left within the cask.
Regauging tells you the number of litres of spirit within your cask as well as the alcohol by volume (ABV). This is done to ensure the liquid within the scotch cask does not fall below 40% ABV, otherwise the spirit cannot be considered whisky. Casks close to the 40% limit will not trade at as high a value. You can raise the ABV by adding further spirit to the cask, however this would devalue a single malt cask since it is now mixed with another whisky.
The first step of any regauge is to remove a sample from the cask and test the ABV using a standard refractometer. Then the cask is weighed, emptied and then weighed again in order to see how much liquid is left in the cask. From these figures the Regauged Litres of Alcohol (RLA) can be calculated.
It is generally recommended that any cask of scotch over five years old should be regauged every three years. If your cask is over fifteen, then a regauging should be carried out every year to ensure that your whisky doesn’t lose any of its value.
While all of this does sound concerning, the strict measures and controls enacted by the scotch storage warehouses in order to safeguard your cask. Temperature controls and constant check ups protect investors from any losses associated with the Angel’s Share. In our experience, we have never had a client lose their investment to evaporation.
If you wish to find out more about the regauging process and the importance of the process for scotch whisky investment, contact us using the form below.