1. Price of the cask, which is VAT free, as the cask is held in a Duty Free warehouse.

2. Bottling costs, around £2.50 per bottle plus VAT at 20% if you are from the UK (If you are not from the UK and are not VAT registered in your country, you will also have to pay this)

3. Excise Duty– in the UK this is £28.22 per litre of pure alcohol plus VAT at 20%. If you’re not from the UK, you will need to either pay the Duty yourself directly to your tax authority, in advance of shipping, or use an approved warehouse to import the goods on your behalf (there will likely be a fee). I can help find an importer in most countries.

4. Shipping—approximately £60 in the UK, £100-£300 in the EU, depending on number of bottles and country.

This is all explained in more detail below:


When you purchase a cask, you should be aware that before you can remove it from a bonded warehouse, you must pay Duty and VAT.  In the UK, Duty is currently £28.22 per litre of alcohol, which means that for a 0.7 litre bottle of whisky at 40% abv (Alcohol by Volume) the Duty will be £28.22 x 0.7 x 0.4=£7.90 plus VAT at 20%.  European Excise Duty Rates can be found here.


See Approximate Cask Yield page for more details on cask yields at different ages.


If a cask is a bourbon barrel, it will have held around 190-200 bulk litres when first filled, usually around 63.5%.  This means there is 190 x 0.635 = 120.65 litres of pure alcohol in the cask when first filled.  The contents of the cask will evaporate through the wood over time, lowering the strength and decreasing the quantity.  If 2% of the alcohol evaporates each year, after 10 years there will be about 80% of 120.65 litres remaining = approximately 96.52 litres of alcohol.  That means that the total Duty payable on the cask is 96.52 x £28.22 (current rate, which will undoubtedly change in 10 years) = £2724 plus VAT at 20% = £3268. If you bottle the cask at 40% you will have 96.52 / 0.40 = 241.3 bulk litres, which when filled into 700ml bottles yields approximately 344 bottles (there will be some small bottling losses).  At a higher strength of 55%, the cask will yield approximately 96.52 / 0.55 = 175.5 bulk litres, 250 700ml bottles. You must bear in mind that the Duty and VAT per bottle may change in the future.


To pay the Duty in another European Country you must arrange for the cask/bottles to be transported under bond to a SEED Approved warehouse/consignee in that country that can receive goods under bond.  They will then arrange the payment of the appropriate Duty and VAT, or in the case of “doing it yourself”, you must pre-pay the Duty in order to become SEED approved temporarily.


Taking all of this into account, you should consider carefully whether you want to end up with such a large quantity of whisky.  It may be worthwhile getting a group of friends together to share the costs and the number of bottles at the end.


I have provided an Excel calculation sheet for all of the above which enables you to enter the litres of alcohol and the price, together with the strength you wish to bottle at, in order to calculate the number of bottles and the cost in various currencies. If you have not understood the above details you may find the spreadsheet slightly complicated, so feel free to send me an email and I’ll be happy to explain.

Click here for the Microsoft Excel Version (can be edited)


If you understand all of the above and wish to purchase a cask, please take a look at our Casks section.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss the above, please contact info@whiskybroker.co.uk.


European Excise Duty Rates can be found here. Please see pages 21-23, “ethyl alcohol” for the rates relating to spirits.

Buying a cask of whisky— Costs Involved