In the barns where the whisky casks are made the movement of the coopers dancing around their barrels, busy shaping, shaving and charring casks instantly captivated me. With their aprons, traditional tools and hand-crafted methods it is like entering a pre-existing time.
In particular, the days that I spent at Speyside Cooperage when ‘the butts’, barrels nearly as tall as the coopers themselves, were being charred, were great. Fire funnelled through the bottom of the barrel chars the inside surfaces with as purpose to affect the flavour and colour of the spirit aged in the barrel. The immensely hot barrels are then cooled by water creating such a steamy atmosphere, that people and barrels all sudden appear out of nowhere.
Below is illustration of a drawing etched on a copperplate before being inked up and going through a printing press. Drunk on whisky, butts and barrels is an immense body of work on the iconic whisky industry.