Most malt whiskies bottled by the distillery owners are a marriage of several different casks. These big cask vattings are then often chill-filtered and coloured with the addition of varying amounts of caramel before being bottled. Even whiskies that are not chill-filtered are normally bright-filtered. Chill-filtration - when the spirit is chilled to freezing point or below prior to bottling - is done for cosmetic reasons, as it removes any possibility of cloudiness. Unfortunately, it also removes many of the natural fats, oils and flavours in the whisky which in turn removes a great deal of the individual character of a whisky as the esters, or flavour congeners, in the spirit tend to gather around these fats. The more a whisky is chilled when filtering, therefore, the greater the proportion of fats and esters are removed. And caramel has its own flavour, which is added to that of the whisky. In fact, the majority of malt whiskies are treated in this way when bottled. Bright filtering also removes a large part of these fats and esters with losses of around two to three percent of the cask volume when bottling.
But although these whiskies are altered from the natural spirit, which came out of the cask, you will not be told this on the label. You may be told other things, but never this important information. Indeed, the whisky may even come in a coloured bottle so that you cannot see the colour of the whisky you are buying. (Imagine buying a bottle of fine wine in a coloured bottle!) Only if it is a law in your country will the information be added to the label that your expensive bottle of malt whisky has been altered by the addition of caramel colouring.
The loss when bottling our Blackadder single cask whiskies is normally less than one percent and less than half a percent in the case of Blackadder Raw Cask. Blackadder believes in bottling only whiskies that are completely natural - thus keeping alive the centuries old traditions by which they are first lovingly distilled and then carefully aged over the years they spend silently maturing in cask. Blackadder is Robin Tucek, co-author with John Lamond of The Malt Whisky File (now over 150,000 copies in print). All Blackadder whiskies are his personal selection. Blackadder’s challenge, therefore, is to select and bottle only individual casks as naturally as possible. To ensure this we only give our whiskies a light filtration to remove any cask particles that may otherwise get into the bottle. Blackadder Raw Cask whiskies, however, are completely unfiltered. All Blackadder whiskies are SINGLE CASK BOTTLINGS. This also applies to whiskies bottled under all Blackadder International labels; ABERDEEN DISTILLERS, CLYDESDALE ORIGINAL AND CALEDONIAN CONNECTIONS whiskies. Every cask is different, thus making a hugely complex and varied selection of different whiskies available for our customers to choose from.
Each cask is chosen to represent one of the very best examples of its type and age. No two casks of whisky are ever exactly alike, because the type of oak used and the conditions under which it is stored will both influence the ultimate spirit produced. Blackadder whiskies therefore offer the widest possible variety of singular taste experiences.
Because we have not filtered out the suspended fats which can cause cloudiness and sedimentation in the bottle under certain temperature conditions, our whiskies may appear slightly cloudy or “milky”. Our only addition to a whisky when bottling is pure Scottish water. Our standard bottling strength is 43-45% by volume, but we also offer a selection of undiluted Cask Strength whiskies, bottled without the addition of any water.
To heighten your enjoyment of all these exceptionally fine single malt whiskies, we suggest that you add a small quantity of water to the spirit. This will help release the many complex flavours of each glass for you to savour. Any good quality bottled or tap water may be used but not sparkling or mineral waters and tap water if it is heavily chlorinated. Ice should not be added as it chills the spirit and reduces the release of the natural flavours. RAW CASK
Blackadder RAW CASK is whisky as it always was. Whisky as it used to be. Every drop is “Whisky from the Old School”. Following the successful world exclusive launch of BLACKADDER RAW CASK through World of Whiskies at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick Airports in Autumn 2000, these whiskies are now available in many markets world-wide.
Blackadder does not believe in chill-filtering or in colouring whisky. We believe that the purest is the best. Quite simply, Blackadder RAW CASK is every bit a Blackadder whisky but even more so. We use a special bottling process to make sure that each and every bottle of Blackadder RAW CASK contains its own share of the cask sediments as well as natural oils and fats that might otherwise be left behind when filling a cask strength whisky straight from cask. This ensures the maximum possible natural flavour is in each and every bottle.
The only thing we do when bottling is to use a small filter to ensure that splinters of wood from the cask do not inadvertently pass into the bottle. We think that such things are best avoided. Blackadder RAW CASK is therefore single malt whisky as it always used to be drunk when it was often sold from small barrels kept behind the bar.
As Blackadder RAW CASK is a high strength cask whisky we recommend “cutting” your spirit with an equal part of water. But because adding water is always a matter of personal taste, the amount of water you choose to add is very much a matter of choice.
However, it should be noted that the addition of water in a natural unfiltered whisky helps to unlock and release the esters, or flavours, from the fats. This is especially so with a cask strength whisky and will enable you to enjoy the fullest possible range of complex flavours in your glass of Blackadder RAW CASK.