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.