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Cask 88 Reveals The History Of Witchcraft Through Whisky 

Cask 88 Book of Daemonologie Single Malt Scotch whisky

For those who haven’t heard, Cask 88 is one of our favorite independent whisky bottlers. Besides bringing super cool rare Scotch to the world’s lips, the brand has a real knowledge of Scottish lore and history that they celebrate through their various releases. In that vein, Cask 88 has unveiled the second bottling in its Scottish Witchcraft Series, The Book of Daemonologie.

The Cask 88 ‘The Book of Daemonologie’ (from the Scottish Witchcraft Series) is a 13 Year Old Single Malt distilled at a secret Orkney distillery. It features a label which glows in the dark to reveal an illustration inspired by the Book of Daemonologie written by King James VI, from which the bottle takes its name. This whisky is available in a highly limited run of just 165 bottles.

The Scottish Witchcraft Series depicts the tensions between Christian and pagan beliefs which resulted in the prosecution of women throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, and spotlights some of the most influential players in this dark part of history. The latest bottling in the series, ‘The Book of Daemonologie’, is inspired by the 1597 publication by King James VI of the same name, a tome categorizing a wide variety of supernatural phenomena, based on anecdotes and dubious tales extracted under duress from people wrongly accused of practicing ‘witchcraft’. “We have often taken inspiration from Scotland’s storied history – previously with our Scottish folklore and railways inspired series,” said Cask 88 Bottling Projects Manager, Seoyoung Kang. “As horrible as this time period is, we feel that this dark time in Scotland’s past would be too dangerous to forget.” 

Designed and created by illustrator Hannah Sneddon, the label tells a different story under the cover of darkness: depicting some of the horrors described in King James’s book. The whisky was distilled on Orkney, the North Sea around which experiences storms so tempestuous that King James VI was convinced they must have been summoned by witchcraft. “The design for this bottle references one of the most gruesome chapters of our history, the Scottish Witch Trials. It is a dark but fascinating glimpse into the mind of a paranoid king obsessed with conspiracy.” 

“Adorning an apothecary bottle that wouldn’t look out of place among a shelf of potion jars is a diorama of monsters, succubi, fairies, familiars, shapeshifters and magic charms. Obscured by the darkness, you may find yourself seeing things that aren’t really there at all…”

The first release in the Scottish Witchcraft Series, ‘The Trial of Isobel Gowdie’ commemorated the life of a 17th century woman Isobel Gowdie, who famously gave one of the most vivid and detailed ‘confessions’, extracted over a six week period of interrogation and torture in 1662. Her descriptions have greatly impacted our modern conceptions of witchcraft, and her influence endures. 

Bottled at 52% ABV, ‘The Book of Daemonologie’ is priced at £98 and will be available to purchase from Friday, October 21, 2022, through the Cask 88 website.

Cask 88 will reopen the World’s Smallest Whisky Bar on Edinburgh’s Princes Street for Halloween weekend to launch ‘The Book of Daemonologie’.