One of the things I’ve learnt in my time since working at the distillery is just how much I love casks. Wooden barrels are just some of the most beautiful objects containing so much story and character and history in them (whether filled with spirit or not). It’s really quite amazing to think now just how common barrels would have been around the world in every facet of life, from storage to transport and beyond. Now relegated purely for use in distilleries, you sometimes forget that at one time distilleries were no more of a consumer of barrels than any other industry. Fishing boats landing barrels of herring, everything from oil to nails and food all being moved and stored using handmade wooden casks of all shapes and sizes. I’ve been lucky in my time here to have gotten the chance to work with a few casks, notably for my short film “Painting the MacLeod Cask“, in which we, well, painted a cask:
On Monday, however, we had our Distillery Open day, in which local Skye businesses were coming over to visit and see the distillery and what we had to offer. For them arriving we wanted to debut a new sign that would direct the scores of visitors getting lost and accidentally heading to Raasay House when they got off the ferry (how so many people seem to get mixed up is beyond me, but thats another matter). So last week I strapped up six of our old miniature sherry casks onto my trusty trailer and got to work. You can watch the rest of the story below:
We used some pretty standard black gloss as a base and some (quite old) leftover white for the lettering and logos. Mary had a clever idea for a stencil- instead of taping and painstakingly marking out the complicated parts, we’d use a spray mount adhesive too quickly and accurately stick on the cut out stencils. It actually worked really well, but for the logo we left it on overnight and as a result getting the now stuck solid paper off was a nightmare, and left a lot of residue and marks we had to eventually repaint black. The second time around though, for the lettering, we painted it and left it just an hour or so to harden up, then took it off and it worked perfectly. Something I will definitely be remembering for next time I do some stencilling involving our ridiculously complex logo. I was pleased with the final version, although it was quite a rush and a late night on Sunday to get it ready, so both the stand holding it all together at The Steading and some of the paintwork needs fixed or touched up later. However I’m pretty pleased with it, and it seemed to go down well online:
The open day was also a big success by all accounts, with plenty of folks over enjoying the decent weather and getting a chance to see what was on offer at the distillery and here on Raasay.
We did a variety of tours, showing off the warehouse as well as other aspects of the business and perhaps best of all, a chance to show off some nice baking and food offerings by Iona, Norman’s Wife, who is opening a great little food stop right next to the steading and Fionas shop! It’s called The Larchbox and it’s is opening I think in time for Easter. We distillery workers are going to get so fat…