What the Heck is Blackadder?

Why would a Distillery sell a perfectly good cask to anyone before it's ready to bottle? Is this inferior Whisky? This is what I constantly hear from the marketplace... well let's talk about it.

When someone says “Blackadder” most think of a venomous snake or the British TV series. When I was growing up in Canada one of my favorite TV shows was Blackadder. Rowan Atkinson’s iconic humor as he traveled through history was a unique hilarity. So, when I was first introduced to Blackadder Whisky I instantly thought it had some connection to the TV show. I wondered if there was a “Baldrick” lurking in the back.

In reality Blackadder International was established in 1985 by Robin Tucek and John Lemond, and named after Scottish Bishop John Blackadder. Bishop Blackadder was a preacher in mid to late 1600 Scotland.

Robin Tucek looking proud

Robin Tucek looking proud

Today, Blackadder International is a family-run, independent bottling company, Robin Tucek now runs the business with his son, Michael, and daughter, Hannah.

Why would a Distillery Sell a Perfectly Good Cask?

I sometimes hear comments that Independently bottled whisky is inferior. Why, would a distillery sell a perfectly good cask of whisky to an independent bottler?  Distilleries produce thousands of casks per year. Rather than having to store and wait for a cask to age they will sell casks to reputable independent bottlers. This provides the distillery with cash and the distillery recognizes the marketing impact. Independently bottled expressions raise awareness of the distillery.  A large percentage of whisky produced in Scotland is used in Blends, therefore in some cases the only way to get a Single Malt offering from some distilleries is through an Independent Bottling.  Not all Distilleries allow Independent bottlers to use the distillery name, therefore sometimes one will see Whisky bottled under a different name, however this does not diminish the quality. Bear in mind that the offerings from Independent Bottlers are usually single cask. I’ve seen casks that have yielded less than 75 bottles. Every Blackadder bottle label details the bottle number and total number of bottles.  

Cask is King

Blackadder’s philosophy is very simple, they believe that the cask is king. Sixty to seventy percent of the flavors in a whisky develop slowly from the cask as the spirit lies maturing in the warehouse. The action of changing temperature draws the spirit in and out of the cask. Every cask is unique, with its own fingerprint. This is why Blackadder bottles most of their whiskies from single casks. They don’t believe in chilling or otherwise heavily filtering the whiskies, and they never, repeat never, add caramel colouring and flavouring. Blackadder have always believed the personalities of their whiskies are colorful enough. Blackadder Whiskies have won numerous awards recognizing their uniqueness.

Blackadder whiskies are sold through carefully-targeted specialist importers and shops worldwide. They are also available in leading bars (including many specialist whisky bars) and restaurants wishing to offer top-end single malts for their customers.

I always find Blackadder is a crowd pleaser at tastings

I always find Blackadder is a crowd pleaser at tastings


PART 1 : Let’s breakdown the family of Blackadder offerings:

Raw Cask

This is Blackadder’s leading brand of Internationally-acclaimed Raw Cask whisky and the one that we focus on for the US market.. These are whiskies from the old  school, as they could have been drawn from a cask behind a bar in Scotland back in the 1800s. It is the King of the Single Casks! I love the purity of these whiskies. The bits of char in the bottles have always intrigued me and made me think that each bottle contains the essence of the single barrel from whence it came.

Blackadder Statement

When Blackadder discovers a cask of whisky that is extra special, they bottle it under the Statement label, packed in a black carton.

It is a step up from the Raw Cask range – the King of Kings!


Many whiskies have legends created and crafted around them and Blackadder should be no different – after all, they are selling Scotland’s legendary spirit! These are unique or rare cask bottlings and offered in special packaging.

Peat Reek

Peat Reek is the smell of burning peat, the flavours of which are imparted to malting barley as it is slowly dried while the smoky reek of the peat is drawn
over it. For Blackadder Peat Reek, they select only casks of whisky produced using malted barley that has been heavily impregnated with the phenols and
creosols of a gently-smouldering peat fire. This is the Bladrick I was seeking!

Smoking Islay

The pinnacle of very smoky Islay malt whisky. To ensure continued supply, Blackadder has to be a bit secretive about exactly what’s contained in each cask. Perhaps that’s part of the fun in enjoying a dram or two of Smoking Islay – trying to guess what’s in your glass! Which Distillery do you think it comes from?


This classic Speyside malt whisky is exclusive to Blackadder. It is produced at the very heart of Speyside using the skills and traditions passed down by generations of family distilling. This whisky is bottled at differing ages and from different cask styles. Each whisky is its own canvas, with its flavors and colors indelibly etched and hued.


As Blackadder celebrates its 20th Anniversary it excites us to see how proud our Distributor Sales Reps are when they get to offer Blackadder’s unique and amazing product line.   We have some very special offerings in the pipeline coming later this year and in early 2017.

Just think that as you sell Blackadder Whiskies you are providing a special service, offering the whisky connoisseur or novice a unique dram that will never be available again. Whether they enjoy a dram of Blackadder watching TV, relaxing outdoors with friends (while those snakes lurk!), or in their favorite Whisky bar, you’ll know they’ll want more. That’s the lore of Blackadder.

Stay tuned for Part 2 and the rest of the Blackadder products.


Raj Sabharwal

Raj Sabharwalwhisky, Blackadder