* Please note that photograph above is representative only. Final product does not include the ribbon feature.

The Scottish Witchcraft Series

The idea of witches has undergone a complete transformation from how our ancestors would have thought of them. It’s common enough around Hallowe’en to see children rushing about on toy broomsticks, faces painted green, or perhaps wearing the colours of a Hogwarts house in combination with their pointed black hat.

Witchcraft has been sanitised and destigmatised over the years, our modern perceptions of witches come to us from a historical period where real women were feared for their supposed ability to cast magic, brew potions and control minds. Extreme and terrible things were done in the name of protecting the Christian world from witchcraft, and it is interesting to reflect that highly bowdlerised stories are the cultural remnants from an awful period.

Scotland in particular has a storied history with witchcraft, with the struggles between Christian and pagan beliefs coming into dreadful conflicts in the 16th-17th centuries, often with very bad ends for the women accused of being witches.

The Cask 88 Scottish Witchcraft Series releases bottles at Hallowe’en each year, their visuals inspired by the most lurid iconography taken from a very different time.
Whisky and Witches are not so distantly related, as it happens. The art of distilling whisky was often done by women, and the bubbling alchemy of spirit distillation could be seen as near enough to the brewing of magical elixirs that female distillers could be accused of witchcraft.

Around this time of year there is fascination with the dark, the sinister and the sorcerous – but it is also important to remember that such fanciful things were not always taken so lightly.

The Trial of Isobel Gowdie

When the Scottish Witchcraft trials of the 17th century are discussed, there is one name that features more prominently than all others – Isobel Gowdie. The most famous of Scotland’s witches.
Isobel was the wife of a peasant farmer in Auldern, on the north coast of present day Speyside. Details are a bit murky as to how she came to be accused of witchcraft, but the records show that she was interrogated over a period of six weeks in 1662, culminating in a conviction for witchcraft, for which she was most likely executed and burnt.

What was unusual about Isobel’s story was the vividness and colourful nature of her testimony. We cannot be sure what motivated her (though stress and sleep deprivation are likely candidates), but over the course of four interrogations she wove the most incredibly detailed tales of dark rituals, sacrilegious acts and forbidden magics – at such a pace that her accusers frequently found it hard to get everything down. One thing is clear – they were spellbound by her words.

Isobel’s testimony has captured imaginations through the generations since she gave it. It’s not an overstatement to say that her descriptions have profoundly influenced our modern conceptions of witchcraft. She drew a vivid picture of an alternative world where Christian and Fairy folklore were entwined. She spun stories of flying through the air on a stalk of corn; of her coven transforming themselves into cats, hares and jackdaws; of attending feasts at the court of the Fairy Queen and King; of erotic moonlit assignations with the devil himself.

Art Inspired by the Imagination of Isobel Gowdie

Lurid and tantalising, the design on our bottle uses the world of Isobel Gowdie and the power of her words to paint an intriguing picture. But it’s when viewed in the dark that the bottle reveals all – the illuminated features of a magical parallel world where Gowdie confessed to going at night, long after the sunset.

A master storyteller with a compelling knack for creating vivid worlds, one cannot help but feel that Isobel Gowdie had great misfortune at being born during a period of hysteria and persecution – at another time in history, her story may have ended less tragically.

Linkwood Distillery

The Linkwood distillery was founded by Peter Brown in 1821 outside the town of Elgin, near the picturesque river Lossie in the Speyside region. The distillery is located less than 20 miles from Auldearn; the home of Isobel Gowdie and her husband just before the fateful trial of 1662.

Linkwood whisky is famous for its incredible combination of elegance and texture, achieved through clear worts, slow fermentation and distillation. Slightly thicker than most, the whisky has a creamy mouthfeel which combines fantastically with the soft delicate notes of light herbs, nuts and subtle sweetness.

Tasting Notes on
Linkwood 14 Years

Cask # : 804146

Finish: Château Lafite Brq.

Colour: Twilight Pink

Distillation Date: 15/06/2007

ABV: 51.5%

Bottling Date: 22/10/2021

Nose: There’s a sweetness on the nose, with a hint of the exotic. Slices of red apple marinated in rosewater, and then a sniff of marzipan. What follows is a careful blend of savoury spices, sprinkled into the finish – black pepper, pink pepper and a dab of celery salt.

Palate: The sweetness of mixed berry jelly sweets and Turkish delights rushes in, countered by a sharpness like grapefruit pulp, whereafter the tannins echo gentle bitterness. This shapeshifting whisky then continues that path, bringing herbal notes like sage, thyme and tarragon and concluding with a final whisper of allspice.

Limited Quantities Available Now – Exclusively At Cask 88

With only 370 bottles available and an unprecedented interest in this new series, this world premier release is set to be one of the year’s hottest whisky expressions. Bottles are now on sale exclusively on cask88.com.

Don’t miss the opportunity to take your whisky collection to the darker side with one of these spectacular and highly collectible bottles. Reserve your bottle today.

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The Scottish Witchcraft Series