PR invite // All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own.
I must say this time of year is particularly fun when there’s Halloween-themed events happening. So I was quite curious to walk up to Cask 88’s headquarters on this rainy Thursday for the launch of the new addition to the Scottish Witchcraft Series.
The new whisky is called The Book of Daemonologie and is a 13 year old Orkney single malt matured in an ex-Oloroso cask and limited to 165 bottles. The whisky sits at 52% and retails at £98. The bottle has a lovely label, which also glows in the dark, created by illustrator Hannah Sneddon who has done a great job designing two labels, one for daylight, and one that only shows up when darkness falls.
The name of the whisky is inspired by the 1597 publication with the same name from King James VI, which tells the tale of supernatural phenomena and the hunting of witches in Scotland which the king seemed fairly obsessed with. This has also given the inspiration for the symbols and characters on the label.
When we arrived for the tasting, it wasn’t your standard introduction to the new whisky, but instead we sat down with Amanda Edmiston and her tarot cards. The tarot cards had been created in collaboration between Amanda and the Cask 88 team to find elements that could be found in the whisky. This included card depicting walnut, wild thyme, peach, oak, elderberry, turnip and sphagnum moss. We all got to pick a card / tasting note that spoke to us and Amanda told us stories and advice associated with it.
I chose Gloaming Haar and then also Wild Thyme – which both apparently are quite magical. The Gloaming Haar brought a story of a Selkie lover and how you can call on them by crying seven tears – not more or less – by the coast when the haar is out. However a Selkie will always be drawn to the sea and it’s not a good idea to try and hide their seal skin to make them stay, as it doesn’t end well.
With the Wild Thyme I got the advice to find fresh thyme and combine it with heather honey and warm water for a cure against throat sourness. The magical coincidence that I happen to have a sore throat seemed almost too good to be true. And I’ll happily submit to any magical inclination. Amanda also told us that thyme often grown by fairy hills, on Orkney for example, and that it can symbolise not seeing something clearly that might be in front of you, but that it’s wise not to speak too much about it.
I absolutely loved listening to Amanda and definitely have a soft spot for anything witchy. Don’t be surprised if I end up living in a cottage in the woods, with various potions and brews (mostly tea) and a fondness for dancing naked across the moss in full moonlight.
When I tried the whisky I got tones of earthy dunnage, floral plum, heather, wet moss, soft oak and a sweet grassy fruitiness with a touch of salt.
We also tried the predecessor and first release in the series which was inspired by Isobel Gowdie, who was accused of witchcraft in the 17th century. This whisky, which I tried at The Worlds Smallest Whisky Bar earlier this year, was a 14 year old Linkwood matured in red wine casks that I really enjoyed.
And speaking of The World’s Smallest Whisky Bar – this will open up once more on October 28th, 29th and 30th on Princes Street. This time offering tastings of The Book of Daemonologie as well as some fortune-telling with Amanda as well. And it’s free! You only need to book tickets through Eventbrite to secure your spot, which can be enjoyed together for up to 3 guests. I know it was really popular last time so go book as soon as possible if you don’t want to miss out.
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