Frequently Asked Questions
What is ABV?
ABV stands for ‘Alcohol By Volume’ which is the standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in any given volume.
Why is cask whisky Capital Gains Tax Free?
Whisky casks are classed by HMRC as a ‘wasting asset’ and are not subject to Capital Gains Tax. Wooden whisky casks are naturally porous, meaning a very small amount of whisky evaporates each year and some is absorbed by the wood, normally no more than 2% (the angel’s share). A wasting asset is an asset with a predictable life of 50 years or less and due to the evaporation, it is highly unlikely the life expectancy of your cask will exceed 50 years.
What is the angel’s share?
One of the terms you’ll often hear in whisky distilleries is “the angels’ share”. When whisky is slowly maturing in its cask, a small amount of whisky evaporates through the wood and into the atmosphere. This can be as much as 2% per year, but it’s rarely as much as this.
What does OLA/RLA mean?
OLA stands for ‘Original Litres of Alcohol’ and RLA stands for ‘Regauged Litres of Alcohol’. OLA refers to the number of litres of pure alcohol which were initially placed into the cask and RLA represents the litres of pure alcohol remaining in the cask after a regauge has been implemented, checking the health, contents and value of your cask.
What are bulk litres?
Bulk litres refer to the entire litres of liquid in a cask, the combined total of pure alcohol and liquid. A cask filled with 200 bulk litres at 64% ABV would have 128 litres of pure alcohol (64% of 200).
What is duty suspension?
When your cask is being stored or transported between bonded warehouses, it is held and transported under duty suspension. This means you don’t have to pay duty on your cask, which is the tax levied by HMRC on alcohol (currently £28.74 per litre of pure alcohol) until the cask is removed from bond.
What is a HMRC licenced warehouse?
A bonded warehouse is a HMRC controlled warehouse where the goods stored and held are free from duty and VAT. HMRC licenced are those which HMRC have granted an official WOWGR licence (Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations). This authorises a business to store and move goods with the payment of duty suspended from one bonded warehouse to another.
What is a WOWGR?
A WOWGR licence (Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations) is a strictly governed certificate awarded to companies who have met HMRC’s stringent requirements to store spiritous beverages and intermediate products, duty suspended in excise warehouses. This licence is not available to the public, but we have passed the strict checks and have been awarded one and although the cask is legally yours, we will be your duty representative/custodian of the cask(s) in the eyes of HMRC.
How long should I hold my cask?
How long you hold your cask is entirely up to you. We will discuss this with you in detail before your purchase so we can tailor everything to your needs, but usually we say a minimum of 5-10 years. However, the longer you hold, the more the whisky improves, the rarer it becomes and larger are the potential returns.
What happens if I die?
The certificate of title and associated paperwork you receive from Vintage Acquisitions confirms legal ownership of your cask(s).
If you die your whisky casks will be added to your total estate and assessed by HMRC. If you have made a will, you will be able to determine who the beneficiaries of your estate will be and by how much they will benefit. Vintage Acquisition recommends that you seek professional independent financial advice in this regard.
Is there a minimum purchase price?
No. Depending on the stock held at the time, the minimum purchase price is the price of the lowest value cask at the time the inquiry is made. This price could vary on a daily basis but has no minimum.
Is Cask Whisky Regulated?
No. Cask whisky comes under the control and regulation of HMRC. Cask whisky is classed by HMRC as a ‘wasting asset’ and is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) who govern ‘regulated’ financial investments. Vintage Acquisitions always recommend that you seek independent legal and financial advice in advance of any purchase.
What Happens if Scotland gains Independence?
Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom since 1st May 1707. The Scottish people voted against independence on 18th September 2014. Given that Whisky makes up 70% of Scottish food and drink exports the consensus of opinion is that post-independence they will be keener than ever to do trade deals wherever they possibly can which would clearly include the UK. Britain also maintains a very special relationship with the US, by far the biggest importer of Scotch in the world.
How do I know my cask exists?
Once the purchase of your cask(s) has been completed, you will have received an invoice, a paid receipt and a certificate of title (wet signed and stamped by the founding director) or a Delivery Order (DO) to your own private account, if you have one. All these corresponding documents include the cask’s unique number and recent regauge or filling data (OLA/RLA, AYS, ABV, etc.). On becoming an owner you can visit your cask (warehouse dependant), draw samples and you will receive documentation and correspondence confirming the recommended ongoing care of your cask.
What about Scams?
Unfortunately, scams are rife in any industry where success is prevalent. Vintage Acquisitions have been trading for 10 years and urge all clients looking into cask whisky purchase to undertake as much due diligence as possible. In generic terms potential clients should seek independent advice and ensure that full and accurate checks are made when investigating who to deal with. The sale of cask whisky is not regulated by the FCA and therefore purchases are not covered under the FSCS*. Cask whisky purchase is however regulated by HMRC. In simple terms clients should avoid firms advertising spectacularly high returns, offering any claims of ‘guaranteed returns’, firms not on the WOWGR trading register and any firm reluctant or unwilling to provide a written delivery order.
*Financial Services compensation Scheme
Are there any guarantees?
The purchase of cask whisky does not come with any guarantees. Offering any type of guarantee would be misleading as there are so many factors that influence markets. Historically purchasing then holding on to whisky casks over the medium to long term has been lucrative however past performance is no guide to the future. Vintage Acquisitions work on the very simple principle that if you purchase whisky casks and are prepared to hold on to them the whisky you purchased will be older, in shorter supply and therefore more desirable than when you first made the purchase.
What happens if Vintage Acquisitions gets taken over or collapses?
In either scenario the bottom line is that you own and can evidence the fact that you own specific individually numbered whisky casks held under bond at HMRC regulated warehouses. The casks are yours and form part of the inventory of Vintage Acquisitions. They are not ours to sell. In the unlikely event that Vintage Acquisitions collapsed your cask cannot be sold to satisfy receivers or creditors. The cask remains your property.
How is my cask insured?
The full value of your cask is insured for fire, theft and accidental damages. Any excess on the policy will be met by Vintage Acquisitions so in the unlikely event of a claim you would be entitled to the full market value of the cask at the time of the claim.
What happens if my cask breaks?
If your cask breaks you would be insured under the ‘accidental damage’ section of your insurance policy to the full value of your cask at the time of the claim.