Introducing the Cask 88 x Ralph Steadman collection. Explore now
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Scotland has a particularly storied history with witchcraft which has shaped large swathes of what our modern western concept of witchcraft and magic has become. The very idea of what a witch might look like can be traced back to Scottish influences.

Witches Whisky Bottle with Smoke

Spirits & Sorcery

Sword and Wings Illustration

Scotch 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.

Double, double, toil & trouble...

Green Snake Illustration

The endurance of witchcraft in popular media owes much to William Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Thought firmly in the realms of fantasy for the modern day reader, the play was extremlely topical of its time. Penned just nine years after the publication of "Daemonologie" authored by Scotland's own King James VI as a compendium on the perceived dangers of witchcraft. This was the King's justification of his brutal witch hunt across Scotland, one of the largest in Europe's history.

Shakespeare is thought to have referenced many of the tropes established by his new paranoid King, who had recently ascended to the English throne as King James I. "Macbeth" solidified these notions in the collective consciousness for over four centuries. The play, with its witches tempting a lord into regicide, mirrored James's concerns and illustrated the dire consequences of such temptations. Shakespeare's troupe, "The King's Men," reflected his need to appease the patron king, resulting in a portrayal that sensationalised and vilified the witches. The iconic introduction of the Weird Sisters in "Macbeth" has been replicated on countless stages, canvases, and screens. Now, our in-house designer and illustrator, Hannah Sneddon, offers her take in our Scottish Witchcraft Series.

Her interpretation continues a tradition of artistic representations shaped by "Daemonologie" and "Macbeth," demonstrating the lasting impact of these works on the modern understanding of witchcraft. The dark and haunting elements they introduced persist in our cultural imagination, reminding us of the centuries-old interplay between literature, history, and art in shaping our beliefs about the supernatural.

Left Hand Illustration

Eerie Artistry

Right Hand Illustration

Our in-house illustrator, Hannah Sneddon, draws inspiration from Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and centuries of adaptations for The Weird Sisters in our Scottish Witchcraft Series. The eerie trio, dressed in rags, present a concoction with macabre ingredients - eye of newt, adder’s fork, tooth of wolf. They spin their prophecy surrounded by poisonous plants and a brinded cat, and on the horizon sits the silhouette of Cawdor Castle, of which Macbeth is granted thaneship. Their true gruesomeness, however, is only revealed in darkness - the specialised phosphorescent ink will glow in the dark after exposure to light...

Flower Illustration

Macbeth’s Scotland

Flower Illustration

Blair Athol Distillery is nestled at the bottom of the Cairngorm National Park in Perthshire, Scotland - the very same region in which several acts of Macbeth take place. To this day many still exist, including Glamis Castle, Dunsinane Hill and Birnam Wood.

Mushroom Group

Tasting notes

This single cask bottling of 26 year old Blair Athol at cask strength is a symphony in Sherry, a true sipping whisky which evolves and develops in the glass, giving you layer after layer of rich flavours.

Nose
Immediate and intense. Swiss milk chocolate, stewed dates, cinnamon and nutmeg laced walnut brittle drizzled in hot caramel. Develops over time into molasses and dark chocolate torte.

Palate
Richly sweet and complex. Dark chocolate ganache, waning into pecan pie. Subtle spices lend a vivacity to the mid-palate. Lebkuchen abounds.

Finish
Very long and rich, evolving from salted caramel chocolate through raisins and fig and into smoothly resinous black treacle. Eventually charred oak and bay leaf, along with marmalade, provides the final encore.

Green Cat Illustration

Whisky profile

Distillery Blair Athol
Cask number #7654
Finish Oloroso Hogshead
Colour Sanguine Mahogany
Distillation date 26/07/1997
ABV 53.4%
Bottling date 25/09/2023
Age 26 Years

Just 219 bottles

This ephemeral and unique single cask expression is exceedingly limited. Previous releases have sold out in hours so give way to temptation yourself and conjure a bottle of your very own now.

Row of Trees IllustrationYellow Stars IllustrationYellow Stars IllustrationWavy Line

Unfiltered bottles showcase what independent bottlers bring to the whisky industry. The whiskies are unique – single cask, unblended expressions, they cannot be repeated once the supply is drunk – they are ephemeral, presenting each individual cask as its own entity. By their nature, single cask whiskies are available in small batches of just a couple of hundred bottles. The whiskies will be straight from the cask, untampered with. No colouring, no chill-filtering and no dilution.

UNFILTERED

The Collection

Unfiltered Whisky Bottle
The Collection
Unfiltered Whisky Bottle
The Whisky Correspondence Course – Miniature Set
Unfiltered Whisky Bottle
Glenburgie 24 Years Old
Unfiltered Whisky Bottle
Arran 24 Years Old
Unfiltered Whisky Bottle
Bruichladdich 31 Years Old

This highly limited release presents an exquisite single cask expression from the lost Imperial Distillery, distilled in 1998 right before the distillery closed its doors for good. While seeking solace in a single cask for 25 years, this well-rounded liquid has notes of heather honey, pear tart, orchard fruits, vanilla and toffee with a dose of earthiness.

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This summer, in a secluded bothy amongst the Cairngorm Mountains, renowned artist Jonathan Freemantle harnessed the elements of his surroundings, grinding rock into pigments then blending with water from a nearby stream. His original artworks embody the essence of Scottish terroir, as does the precious liquid within.

Bothy Sign
Artist Jonathan Freemantle
THE BOTHY
Scotland at its purest

Designed and crafted by acclaimed Edinburgh-based South African artist Jonathan Freemantle.

A Bothy in Scotland
THE BOTHY
Inspired by the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands

Jonathan embarked on a residency in a remote and secluded bothy amongst the Cairngorm Mountains

Artist Jonathan Freemantle
THE BOTHY
Crafted with passion

Here he harnessed the elements of his surroundings, grinding rock, minerals, earth and flora into pigments then blending with water from a nearby stream - the very same elements from which the whisky was crafted

THE BOTHY
Every bottle is a work of art

Every part of this expression, from the original artworks to the stand it sits on, and the whisky within, are all sourced from the natural landscape embodying the essence of Scottish terroir

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With only 200 bottles ever produced, each with its own unique design, these truly are a collector’s item. A lottery for which one you’ll receive adds to the personality that will sit upon your shelf.

200 Bothy Labels

The Bothy with Jonathan Freemantle

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The Whisky Correspondence Course

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Cask 88 invites you to embark on a multisensory journey, retracing the footsteps of one of Britain’s most legendary illustrators -
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A unique collection of rare single cask single malt Scotch whisky, each bottle adorned with a legendary Steadman print showcasing whisky craft.

The extensive set of luxuriant single malts will be released in four semesters, recreating the correspondence course that Ralph Steadman undertook when honing his craft.

This series takes you on some truly incredible journeys. Not only on Ralph Steadman’s fateful journey through the correspondence course but also the journey of discovery he undertook touring the distilleries of Scotland for 'Still Life in Bottle'.
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An Exquisite Collection

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Bruichladdich 31 Years Old

Distilled: 1991
Cask Type: Refill Hogshead
Cask Number: 2258
ABV: 50.6%

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Arran 24 Years Old

Distilled: 1996
Cask Type: Oloroso Hogshead
Cask Number: 1556
ABV: 44.7%

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Glenburgie 24 Years Old

Distilled: 1997
Cask Type: 1st Fill Sherry Butt
Cask Number: 9318
ABV: 55.2%

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5cl Inkwell Presentation Bottles

A taster of all three 70cl bottles, accompanied by 'coursework' to teach you all about whisky engineering.

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Shop the full collection

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The Man Himself…Ralph Steadman

Click on the whisky bottles to view images and journal entries from Steadman's visits to Scotland and its distilleries.

A world renowned and legendary British artist, with a provocative and eccentric style, Ralph Steadman has enjoyed an illustrious career.
Collaborating with the likes of Private Eye and Rolling Stone, developing ‘Gonzo’ journalism with Hunter S. Thompson and travelling the vineyards of the world to illustrate for Oddbins are just a few of his adventures.
In the 50s, Ralph Steadman undertook the Percy V. Bradshaw Press Art School’s postal correspondence course, a fundamental part of his artistic education. This unique whisky series is themed around that correspondence course with the artistic material replaced with knowledge of whisky craft.
Next, in the 90s, Steadman and his wife toured distilleries of Scotland, gathering knowledge about the whisky creation process and inspiration for incredible illustrations that fill his book 'Still Life with Bottle'. The irreverent and detailed illustrations in this book feature on the bottles of this collaborative series as a celebration of Steadman and the art of whisky.

Semester One: The Engineering of Whisky

Explore some of the most dramatic moments of Ralph Steadman’s tour of Scotland’s distilleries played out at the edge of the furnace of whisky engineering.

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Glenburgie 24 Years Old

Full bodied and delightfully sweet - this gives notes of baked bananas, milk chocolate raisins & wholemeal toast. Lavender topped plum tatin and ginger beer notes develop, finishing with citrus rind, soft leather and pecan pie fighting for the final word.
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The Art of Whisky – Coopering

An essential part of the coopering process, cask firing is arguably the most spectacularly dramatic part of the whisky making process. The incredible intensity of the flames captured by Ralph Steadman in his arresting illustration mirrors the intense richness and unrelentingly long finish of this hand-selected cask.
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Arran 24 Years Old

Rich & sweet. Lashings of dark chocolate ganache and medjool dates give way to candied orange peel and liquorice honeycomb. Evolves relentlessly with spiced coffee, gentle tobacco and vinous tannins.
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The Art of Whisky – Distillation

The application of intense heat to a complex chemical concoction is an indispensable process essential to whisky making. A critical moment in its history in Scotland was the introduction of spirit safes, a physical lock to protect against widespread excise avoidance.

The remote Isle of Arran was unable to transition and whisky making stopped there for over a century.

This whisky was distilled in the 90’s, when Ralph Steadman made his journey across Scotland and when distillation first recommenced on the fair Isle.
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Bruichladdich 31 Years Old

Extremely varied and complex. Greek yoghurt blended with guava and lemon zest, dry Alsatian Riesling and a cooling triptych of menthol, eucalyptus & black cardamom. Blanched almonds and sherbet to finish.
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The Art of Whisky – Malting

A practice almost entirely lost to the annals of time, the by-hand floor malting process captured by Ralph Steadman’s illustration is being recommissioned at Bruichladdich distillery. This cask was selected for its incredible complexity and remarkable balance.
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The Whisky Correspondence Course – Miniature Set

A set of three truly special 5cl inkwell presentation bottles give you a chance to taste all three exquisite single malts in one. Greatly aged and unique, these whiskies hail from some of the finest distilleries in Scotland.
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Whisky Coursework

In homage to Steadman’s undertaking of the postal correspondence course, accompanying ‘coursework’ will teach you all about the engineering process behind whisky making.

Step back in time with us, pick up your pens and experience the quintessential marriage of two of Scotland’s finest art forms.
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Explore Scotland's distilleries through Steadman's eyes.

Click on the whisky bottles to view images and journal entries from Steadman's visits to Scotland and its distilleries.

Our Locations
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The Singleton
Distillery

aberlour distillery
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Aberlour
Distillery

aberlour distillery
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Glen Garioch
Distillery

Glen Gorioth Distilary

Bunnahabhain
Distillery

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Bunnahabhain Distillery

Bruichladdich
Distillery

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Bruichladdich Distillery

Bowmore
Distillery

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Bowmore Distillery
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Lagavulin
Distillery

Lagavulin Distillery
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Caol Ila
Distillery

Caol Ila Distillery