Chaos In The Casks

The Gaelic-speaking communities of the Scottish highlands and islands have a long and rich history of storytelling and poetry. It’s one of the reasons we share so much of our work through the words we write each week in Journals like this one.

A man or woman who was traditionally tasked with capturing life in this way was known as a bàrd and they were well-respected cornerstones of any Celtic culture. Through tales and song, they would mark key moments in time, to be remembered and passed down through the generations.

So, this week we were delighted to welcome poet and creative writer Tim Craven to the distillery as he begins our first official artist-in-residency. Supported by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities, Tim will be spending time with us, and in the wider island, to create a new body of written work.


Originally from Staffordshire, Tim is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh and has been published extensively across the UK and US, exhibiting his work at the Talbot-Rice Gallery and teaching at the Arts Council of Princeton and SUISS.

He’s also connected to us through our shared love of great whisky along with the possibilities and promise of future drams, something he’s already invested in with us as an early owner of private cask #044. This spiritual connection (and a former life studying pharmacy!) should stand him in good stead for the task ahead…

In the tradition of our Hebridean writing heritage, we’ve invited him to explore an important period in our whisky-making history. Our spirit is being committed to oak casks daily and the magic of maturation is underway in our warehouses here in Tarbert and by the shores of nearby Ardhasaig.

Many malt lovers consider this stage of the process to be a quiet and peaceful one, often describing the spirit as simply ‘sleeping’ as the years slip by. We think the opposite is true, believing that there’s chaos inside those wonderful casks as the elemental chemistry of whisky creation comes to the fore.

As Tim works on creations of his own over the coming months, we’re making plans to share his work with you in early 2019. Meantime, he’ll be out and about across the Isle of Harris, letting the island’s elemental nature influence and inspire him in much the same way as it does our distilling

Look out for more creative collaborations with talented people like Tim as the years go by, celebrating the power and pleasures of the written word and its unique ability to forge proud memories, preserving the important moments in every chapter of our ongoing story.

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