Bringing Scottish Folklore Alive
Scottish history, culture and folklore are so closely intertwined, it is almost impossible to discern one from the other. Generation after generation have passed on the stories, shared their tales and recounted history and folklore in the same breath. Most common of these are tales of mythical beasts who roam the highlands, stalk the lowlands and inhabit the islands.
It is from these magnificent tales that Cask 88 took their inspiration for this truly unforgettable series.
Opening The Next Chapter
The Cask 88 Scottish Folklore Series is a collection of six unique single cask expressions which each embody a different Scottish legend of old. This series of distinct bottles is designed to bond the stories of Scotland’s unique history with the very finest single malts.
The result is a fantastic collection of some of the finest Scottish whiskies, selected to represent the breadth and depth of Scotland’s world renowned culture and heritage, while playing a part in ensuring these enchanting myths and folktales endure for generations to come. The series returns to Islay for the fifth release, and the Bowmore distillery. If you let this whisky get the jump on you, you may find your breath, or even your legs, taken away.
Among the Sidhe, the ‘fairy folk’ of Scotland, you will find mysterious women much like the Irish Banshee. First, the Caoineag: harbingers of bad news all over the highlands and islands. If you hear one keening outside your home, this is an announcement that someone within will die soon. Caoineag mourn for the dead before they have passed.
Around bodies and streams of fresh water, you may encounter Bean Nighe, green-clad washerwomen with webbed feet and just the one nostril. They perform solitary work, washing the clothes of those who are soon to die. Neither spirit can alter fate. They simply announce death, they do not cause it.
On Islay, you must be doubly careful not to surprise a Caointeach. They are sidhe with the attributes of both Caoineag and Bean Nighe. Every clan is said to have its own attendant Caointeach, who may keen outside houses or wash the linens of those whose time has come. Less mild than her counterparts, a Caointeach hates to be interrupted at her work and may whip at the legs of interlopers with her wet laundry. There is magic and malice in her strike, because those who are hit may lose the use of their legs – or even have their legs drop off entirely. Show kindness to a Caointeach, however, and she will leave your family in peace: she knows that loudly predicting death is not necessarily a comfort to those who hear it.
Returning To The Island Of Islay
Cask has visited many of Scotland’s Islands in the Scottish Folklore series. Arran, Islay, Orkney – and now they’re returning to Islay again. There are two reasons: Island communities are small and self-contained and their own locally-grown interpretations of folklore can be exceptionally rich and interesting. And, of course, historical forces have meant that many of Scotland’s most distinctive distilleries are located on the Islands. Islay itself has 9 distilleries jostling for limited space – this small island truly has an affinity with Scotch Whisky.
Bowmore is the oldest licensed distillery on Islay, with over 200 years of whisky making experience. Even back in 1841, long before single malt Scotch was popular outside of Scotland, Windsor Castle ordered a cask of Bowmore specifically. The distillery has taken a balanced approach to whisky making. Moderate peat levels, balanced by devotion to indulgent but not over-rich flavours, and slow maturation in the unique atmosphere of Bowmore’s vaults mean that every encounter with this malt is a refined and luxurious experience. It’s still a powerful spirit, though – and thus should not be taken lightly. Like a Caointeach, Bowmore whisky deserves to be treated with respect – and will treat you in kind.
Bowmore Single Cask Whisky – A Complex and Elegant Old Soul
A single cask of 28 year old whisky distilled at Bowmore distillery was chosen to become the fifth release in the Cask 88 Scottish Folklore Series and represent the Caointeach of Islay. The whisky has spent all of its 28 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead. This classic approach to maturation allows Bowmore’s unique character to show through, emphasising the flavours that come from the fermentation and distillation process. That’s to say – a tropical fruitiness, floral notes, and that signature Bowmore peat.
This whisky is a delight to taste, with layers of distinctive flavours winding together, overlapping and flowing – like a carefully constructed outfit of the finest fabrics. However friendly and elegant this whisky may appear at first encounter, one must sip with care, as the Caointeach is not the only Scottish spirit with the potency to render one legless.
Award Winning Design
The fifth release in the Scottish Folklore series continues the award winning style that has captivated whisky lovers with artistic interpretations of each mythical creature that are unlike any other you’ve seen before. A Caointeach may look somewhat human at a distance, but as you get closer, certain anatomical peculiarities give her away as a creature of the fey. Her fingers and toes are more clawlike, and her time spent in the water has resulted in webbed toes. She has just the one nostril, too – a most uncomfortable situation. She is squeezing the water from a length of fabric, perhaps contemplating using it as a whip on anyone who stares at her for too long.
Behind her blooms St John’s Wort; a flower long held to have magical properties that can offer some protection against the supernatural. The flower only has strength if happened upon unsought after, which is also the only way you’ll ever meet a Caointeach. Hannah Fleetwood’s superb art has once again brought a modern sensibility to a classic figure of Scottish Folklore, reinvigorating her story for new generations.
The Scottish Folklore Series: Caointeach
Age: 28 Years
Cask Type: Ex Bourbon Cask
Cask Number: #19605
Distilled At: Bowmore
Distillation Date: April 10, 1991
Bottling Date: June 19, 2019
Bottle Size: 70cl
Bottles Produced: 200
Nose: Bowmore’s signature smoke is beautifully balanced with burnt caramel, agave syrup, ground cinnamon, peanut oil, vanilla and heather honey. The promise of both sweetness and smokiness on the palate is tantalising.
Taste: There’s a complex maze of flavours inside of this tropical smokehouse – candied papaya, dried mango, butterscotch, angelica root, white peppercorns and chilli roasted peanuts arrive on puffs of smoke, and swirl around each other.
Finish: A mild orange peel flavour lingers on the tongue.Peat smoke after the long maturation is neither overwhelming nor lacking – it is as elegantly balanced as a ballerina. The finish has a fading smoky sweetness accompanied by gentle bitterness and savoury notes with a hint of rosemary.
Cask 88 – The Team Behind The Bottle
Independent bottler Cask 88 take seriously their responsibility to promote Scottish whisky internationally. They don’t just deal in casks and bottles of exquisite whisky from the most prestigious distilleries in Scotland, they want to embody everything that is unique and magical about the industry and country they work in.
At its heart, the whisky industry is inextricably linked to time itself. No one can distil a vintage whisky in an afternoon; only time can create that. It is this relationship with time and place which is truly unique to the whisky industry. Over time, this exciting industry creates its own history and folklore, something we want to share with everyone who loves old and rare whisky as much as we do.
Limited Quantities Available Now
The Scottish Folklore Series: Caointeach is now available for immediate shipping. Just 200 bottles were produced making this a highly collectible limited edition. Bearing in mind the success of the first four releases, we expect these to sell quickly. Reserve your bottle now.