Introducing the Cask 88 x Ralph Steadman collection. Explore now

A tree planted
for every
cask sold

Trees in a forest
SAVING SCOTTISH FORESTS

Scottish forests are greatly diminished.

A worrying prospect considering the essential role they play in the regulation of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, in the preservation of biodiversity, and in maintaining the historic beauty of our natural spaces.

Oak trees are completely indispensable to the whisky industry, since every Bourbon barrel (the most common cask type) uses between 45 – 55kg of wood. Cask88 are committing to not only repay what we take from forests around the globe, by pledging to plant new Scottish oak trees to have a net positive impact on our forests.

Scottish Landscape
Scottish Landscape
Scottish Landscape

Why are no casks made of Scottish oak?

Scotch whisky is fiercely proud of its origins. Single malts are regional, territorial beasts, keenly connected with their surroundings. Distilleries are always focused on the quality of their local water source and use local peat and locally grown barley wherever possible. But one thing that you almost never see is a whisky matured in a cask made from Scottish Oak.

Scotland was once a densely wooded part of the world, and it must have seemed that the supply of trees was endless. Agriculture and timber use over thousands of years slowly ate away at Scotland’s native forests, with nobody seriously imagining a treeless future. But that’s where we find ourselves in the 21st century – only about 5% of the originally forested land remaining. Certainly, any remaining Scottish oak trees are too precious to turn into casks. It is currently far more sustainable to use existing casks made for the bourbon and European wine industries than making casks from such severely depleted Scottish forests. With our help, we see a future where Scotland’s forests are thriving once again, and we can sustainably and responsibly use local Scottish oak.

SAVING SCOTTISH FORESTS

Not only good for whisky making...

Broadleaf Forests are beautiful places – a vital part of the habitats for local wildlife and preserving biodiversity, an aspect so vital to the wellbeing of humanity and our ecosystems. Preservation of local water resources, and subsequently, water quality, is also dependent on responsible stewardship of our forests, as is the alleviation of environmental risks, such as floods and wildfires. And need we mention that trees eat CO² for breakfast?

Momentum is growing for reforestation efforts, and groups are springing up, vigorously ready to reverse the decline and bring tree cover back to theScottish landscape. People are reclaiming land, planting and nurturing saplings through their vulnerable years, inch by inch letting broad leaves unfurl and create new canopies over the land.

It’s a slow process and will not bring Scottish oak casks back for commercial use in our lifetime. Or our kids’, or maybe even our grandkids’. A European Quercus robur needs about 150 years to reach maturity – and the freshly regrown forests will not want to be exploited for timber again so soon.

Trees in a Scottish forest
saving scottish forests

Not just Scottish regeneration...

We are painfully aware of the desperate global need for forest conservation, reforestation, and land regeneration. With the vast majority of casks used to mature Scotch whisky made from Oak trees felled in the USA, combined with the rapidly increasing demand for these casks from both the Bourbon and Scotch industries, we have decided to extend our oak sustainability projects across the pond too.

We have begun working closely with specialist loggers and cooperages in the USA to source oak for casks in ways that not only have the smallest negative impact possible but in fact have positive and restorative effects on the forests and land. Through responsible land-management, areas once decimated by strip mining, heavy metal leeching and thoughtless industry have begun to recover and flourish. The regeneration of these lands back into thriving, biodiverse forests after decades of humanity’s abuse has already begun.

Rows of casks

01.

worshipping the cask

As a Scotch whisky maturation specialist, we worship the oak cask. We are experts on the subtle dance between oak and maturing spirit, how oak softens the harsher flavours over time, and how vibrant new flavours are slowly alchemised within the quiet darkness of the cask. When we look to the future, we dream of a landscape where Scottish broad oak trees once again stand in great numbers, in community with birch, hazel and pine.
Person planting oak trees

02.

trees4scotland

We’re delighted to be working with Trees4Scotland – a local group who are working hard to reforest the native woodlands of Scotland. Every cask of whisky we sell generates a donation towards the work of Trees4Scotland, which funds the planting of new oak trees and the other species needed for a healthy broadleaf forest. We have been working with Trees4Scotland for years and we are thrilled by the progress already made, though many decades hard work is still to be done to realise our shared dream.
Large oak tree

03.

native oak

These trees will likely never become casks themselves – butas the sight of native oak becomes more common in Scotland over the next 200 - 800years… we may see some more Scotch whiskies matured in locally grown casks as well!

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