Our story: we met in Seattle in September 2014 and were friends for 4 years. In September 2018 I had just moved to Shenzhen for work. She came to give a talk in mid September in Shanghai, and I came to visit her. In October, I moved back to Seattle to be with her and we’ve had a grand 1.5 years together.
Within a year of the relationship, it was clear we were headed for marriage. We discussed a few options for an engagement gift. Our circle of friends have mostly stayed the traditional diamond ring route but we didn’t think that gift really spoke to us. We wanted something we could enjoy together and with family and friends: something that would get better with age. My graduate school professor bought a luxurious Persian rug for his wife and it’s adorned their home ever since, and I wanted to do something in this vein.
It seemed only fitting that I purchase a cask of whiskey as the engagement gift; something that will get better with time as our love deepens and something we can share with our friends and family when we bottle it. I spent about 6 months researching different casks and companies. I was originally going to buy a bourbon cask but the rules and regulations for getting a cask is frankly off-putting and the best companies don’t make their casks available for purchase.
My first interaction with Patrick was back in November 2019. I sent him an intro email about the project, and then life got busy and I put the cask buying process on the backburner. Fast forward to April 2020 where Su and I are both in Beijing to weather the Covid-19 storm, and I relit the kindling for the engagement fire. I reconnected with Patrick on WeChat and it was immediately evident from our discussions that he knew whiskey and more importantly that he was patient and approachable to a novice cask buyer. After he provided an astounding level of service to all my questions, I had no doubt that I’d buy a cask from Cask88.
Now that I knew who I was buying a cask from, I had to make the daunting decision of choosing between the available distilleries and their numerous cask types. My fiancée’s first love when she started drinking alcohol was Port, and when she started drinking whiskey she gravitated towards anything that was aged in sherry casks. She especially can’t handle the heavily peated, so we were able to narrow it down to highlands and something done in port or sherry.
After discussing budget, Patrick sent a list of six or seven 2019 casks and I waffled on the decision. A day later 3 of them had already been bought but there was one that caught my eyes from a Ben Nevis, put into a 1st fill Moscatel butt. I knew I wanted somethings unique and after researching Moscatel, Patrick and I signed a contract to buy the cask.
For the engagement surprise, her cousin helped me to find a specialized bakery in a Beijing to create a cask shape cake from a photo I found online. I printed out the cask certificate and presented it along with the cake to Su amongst her closest family. We’re both looking forward to the day we get to bottle the whiskey and share it with friends and family. With any luck, I’ll be able to hand one to Patrick for all his work in making this momentous occasion smooth and delightful.