As the heavens opened some of our casks arrived on site today, not the Red Letter day I’d hoped it would be when I was typing those words I have to admit. These casks are our spares and also most importantly are EMPTY. So if you are the Revenue Commission reading this, don’t worry we have nothing of interest in the Rackhouse just yet. These had been languishing up in Dundalk with our Full casks. After a meeting a few weeks ago, with a gem of a man and hopefully our Master Cooper in years to come I realised that I could put these casks to use by getting them down here ASAP. Why you ask? Well, I am very much in the “Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail” mindset just now. The reason I brought the casks down is so we can practice handling them and prep the Rackhouse properly for receiving the full casks and putting them into racks by hand.
A full cask of whiskey weighs about a quarter of a ton, so handling it can be perilous in a lose your finger kind of way. In addition, no matter what you paid for the liquid inside it, should you drop it and not be able to explain properly to the Revenue Commission why, you may be liable for the duty payable on the liquid which has likely soaked into the ground. Each cask has about €7500 duty payable on it addition top of that what I paid to have it distilled, the cost of the cask etc. and you are taking a big hit for a small business like me.
Unfortunately, I live in Ireland not Kentucky or Speyside. The only people experienced at handling casks in Ireland at the moment work for multinationals, I can’t exactly call em up and ask them to Schlep down here on their day off. In addition, and this is important. Anyone who is working with casks on the Island is doing so with forklifts and pallets. I’m the only one planning to Rack my whiskey by hand at the moment and most importantly the first company to do it in a VERY LONG time. To that end, there is no working knowledge of racking or dunnage houses for me to call on here in County Clare.
I have no doubt that by the delivery of our second batch we will be adept at this, but I am taking NO CHANCES with the first delivery. We are going to have a few hours of training with our Master Cooper on how not to lop you finger off or contract tetanus from the steel hoops on a cask whilst handling. Our Master Carpenter can get cracking on laying the tracks to properly receive & roll the casks, so they don’t wobble all over the place and leak everywhere.
I will say though, even though I only have 10 ex-bourbon casks in the Rackhouse, the place is smelling DELICIOUS. It’s that wonderful sugary caramel waft you get in any whiskey facility, just wonderful. In just a few more weeks that scent will be intensified and our immensely well prepared crew….i.e. My Dad and some neighbours hopefully, will practically Waltz those casks into the Rackhouse to rest peacefully for a few years.