It struck me as odd that quite often you spend a sizeable amount of money purchasing a bottle and end up transporting it around in a plastic bag or weathered container. Surely this wasn't a fitting carriage for what might be a very special bottle or moment?
To date I haven't done any whisky tastings but one day that may change when time allows. I seem to have accumulated a great deal of interesting whisky that deserves to be shared. Whether it's at another venue or home such bottles warrant a suitable display or venue.
Initially I had debated a whisky plinth and contacted Frazer at FAR Cabinet makers, as I was very impressed with his work. The added incentive was my desire to commission a local craftsman and use Scottish materials wherever possible. Some discussions ensued and then in the New Year I decided to go beyond the plinth and green light something grand and special. An item that will provide enjoyment and satisfaction way beyond my lifespan.
When you're working with craftsmen I find it easier to provide minimal guidance and then just let them get on with what they do best, without chasing or interference. Frazer had his eye on some Scottish quarter sawn oak for the project and also suggested the internal copper finishes along with the mirrors. We wanted to keep the look clean and simple; let the wood be the star without any inner fabrics, as much as I love Harris Tweed and ANTA materials this wasn't the place for them.
The display cabinet is a wooden puzzle box with the doors opening out and becoming extensions of the main storage area. The left hand side offers 6 precut spaces for my growing collection of Glencairn glasses. Above this area sits a divided space for any whisky accoutrements which could be Angels' Share glass lids, pippets and my tasting notes.
The other door plays host to a larger space that can contain a water jug and any relevant literature for those moments when you've lost that important piece of information. It does happen and the doors are secured in place by 2 locks with the lid encasing the whole upper circumference.
With the doors opened out base beneath becomes exposed and can act as that whisky plinth I once envisaged. The bottle area has room for 6 bottles of varying sizes. This was one of the more difficult decisions as there are several different bottle types available currently - never mind if we start considering those historical bottles I love so much.
In the end we took the largest current type that I tend to purchase which would be the current bottle shape offered by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (sorry there isn't one in the above photograph) along with your standard retail sizes. The oddity is the Cadenhead's rectangle shaped slot on the far right. This was essential given my support of this independent bottler and their fantastic range of releases that looks set to continue into 2015.
The fit isn't too snug so the bottles have room to move and this prevents any damage to the labels etc. A copper rail keeps things in order and all that is now missing is a couple of pint glasses and an old bar mat!
The bottles should be the show stoppers but I keep going back to the choice of wood and the finish. Even the top of the display cabinet or the rear display a lovely grain and that skilled finish. Frazer should get involved with the Balvenie Masters of Craft next time they start a competition in the UK.
I won't talk about prices here but apart from the raw materials it is that skill you are paying for. Whilst he couldn't provide an overall time of how long this project took. Frazer did say that the hanging of the doors took 4 hours for example as he wanted to get it just right and it shows. Overall I'm delighted and hopefully it will inspire others to commission a piece of work for themselves. Give your whisky that stage and evening it truly deserves!
Labels: cabinet, display, hand crafted, oak, whisky