Fettercairn Distillery has unveiled an exciting new project to replant an ancient forest as it sets its sights on producing its own single estate Scottish oak matured malt whiskies!
With over 13,000 sessile Quercus petraea and Quercus robur oak saplings planted next to the Distillery on the historic 8,500-acre Fasque Estate, the Fettercairn Forest is part of a wider commitment by whisky makers Whyte & Mackay to develop a sustainable future for responsibly sourced Scottish oak for each Distillery. Embracing all that the rich land in the heart of the Garden of Scotland has to offer and whilst nature takes its course, the initiative is to be marked this year by the creation of a major new sculpture from acclaimed environmental artist Rob Mulholland.
The programme was first conceived by Whisky Maker Gregg Glass 10 years ago and found its natural home at the Fettercairn Distillery. Gregg devoted himself to exploring how to incorporate Scottish Oak within the whisky making at Fettercairn, conducting numerous bench trials with wind-felled and responsibly sourced Scottish oak as well as extensive tests and experimentation in collaboration with a variety of experts across different industries.
The Distillery has already laid down whiskies in Scottish Oak, with a variety of cask types, in virgin oak from around its home in the foothills of the Cairngorms and plans to release the first commercially available Fettercairn Scottish Oak bottling next year. It is committed to establishing a series of new whiskies over the coming decades.
At Fettercairn, there’s been a continued history of exploration, innovation and balancing the best of tradition whilst challenging convention. As a whisky maker this project was a fantastic opportunity to explore the flavour potential of Fettercairn, incorporating all that the local area has to offer, utilising our local water, barley and now Scottish Oak.
This wide-ranging project is one with a vision for the future and is supporting multiple objectives across environmental responsibility, social purpose, forest and land management, supporting our local economy and skills, with the creation of unique, compelling whiskies.
We’re laying down the roots for the future for our continued ethos as whisky makers and our passion and responsibility for the local environment. The Fettercairn Forest is another step in the journey of whisky making at this incredible Distillery.
– Gregg Glass: Master Whisky Maker at Whyte and Mackay
Artwork for future generations
Famed for his mirrored statues and futuristic landscape installations, Rob Mulholland, the Glasgow born artist whose work has been exhibited around the world, is devoted to finding creative ways to articulate the relationship between humans and nature. Inspired by the story of this re-imagined forest, Rob has visualised a stunning artwork to be installed in September 2021.
The thought of this forest emerging from the ground in this beautiful setting – one of the most fertile areas of Scotland – over the next century is incredibly exciting, particularly when you consider all the tangible benefits that will come with the creation of a thriving, wildlife rich environment – from sustainable land management to the clear impact such a beautiful place can have on people’s physical and mental wellbeing.
My aim is to deepen the emotional connection between the people and this captivating land and create something that will still have relevance in 200 years when these trees will stand proud and tall – a legacy that can stand for even longer.
– Rob Mulholland: Artist
The aim of the sculpture project is to develop further installations across the forest and estate as the initiative evolves.
Fettercairn Whiskies are also available to buy from these Merchants:-
Located in the picturesque village of Fettercairn at the foothills of Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountains, this hidden gem is found among some of the most fertile farming land in the North-East of Scotland. With the purest of mountain water as an ingredient, it is almost no surprise that when the distillery was established by Sir Alexander Ramsay in 1824, the enterprising pioneer chose this location.
In the mid-1950s, the whisky-makers at Fettercairn experimented, seeking ways to create a purer expression of their spirit. They found that pouring water down the still cooled the copper, increasing condensation inside so only the lightest vapours could rise for collection. With this knowledge they fashioned a unique copper cooling ring around the neck of the stills drenching them with crystal clear mountain water – an ingenious and practical solution to creating their exceptional whisky, a technique which remains unique in Scotch whisky-making to this day.
About Rob Mulholland
Rob Mulholland is a sculptor and environmental artist based in Drymen, Scotland who exhibits throughout the U.K and world-wide. His practise explores the complex relationship between humans and the natural world. Utilizing a wide variety of forms and materials his sculpture installations interact with their surroundings. He incorporates mirrored surfaces in his sculptures to reflect the given environment and alter the viewer’s perception of the space. The reflection is purposely distorted, inviting the viewer to question their individual relationship with their surroundings.
This nexus between people and the natural world is further developed in recent works such as One Flock which illuminates this symbiotic relationship. He is interested in elements of deconstruction and has interpreted this with sculptures such as Skytower and Evolve in which kinetic forces appear to have torn through and re-shaped the sculptural forms. These sculptures push the boundaries of physical structural engineering allowing him to explore and develop his practise further. His work is both gallery based and sited in public spaces.
About Gregg Glass- Master Whisky Maker
Respected whisky maker Gregg Glass joined Whyte and Mackay in 2016, where he has been a leading light in the rejuvenation of Fettercairn alongside Distillery Manager Stewart Walker.
Gregg enjoyed a childhood in the heart of whisky making country, the Black Isle. With 22 years in industry notably 11 years at innovative whisky maker Compass Box, Gregg joined Whyte and Mackay in 2016 to work alongside renowned Master Distiller Mr Richard Paterson OBE.
Gregg has enjoyed 15 years career as a blender and whisky maker. At Whyte and Mackay Gregg has led whisky development for Fettercairn Single Malt Whisky, Jura Single Malt Whisky and in 2017 launched Whisky Works – an independent innovation wing of Whyte and Mackay.
Gregg is devoted to his craft and believes in flavour-led hands-on whisky making. Gregg is passionately involved in every aspect of the whisky making process from ‘acorn to glass’ and since 2020 leads whisky making across the Whyte and Mackay portfolio.