Tuesday, July 5, 2022
EntertainmentFood and DrinkNational Museums Scotland reveals contemporary whisky collection

National Museums Scotland reveals contemporary whisky collection

NATIONAL Museums Scotland has revealed a new collection exploring contemporary Scottish whisky.

Announced to coincide with World Whisky Day on 21st May 2022, a selection of bottled whiskies, packaging and related material have been acquired to reflect the industry in the 21st century.

Often heralded as an icon of Scottish culture, whisky is the UK’s largest food and drinks export, reaching 166 international markets.

In recent years the industry has undergone a period of growth and reinvention, with dozens of distilleries opening for production since the turn of the century.

Doctoral Researcher Laura Scobie with bottles of whisky.
Doctoral Researcher Laura Scobie said these items “reveal a picture of Scotland in the early 21st century that will now be preserved for generations to come.” (C) Stewart Attwood

This is highlighted in a new collection of 14 objects that spans more than a decade of production.

Acquisitions have been made as part of a sixth-month Student Development Fund Project in partnership with the University of Edinburgh.

The museum says these acquisitions represent the “length and breadth of Scotland”, from the Scottish Borders to the islands of the Inner Hebrides and Thurso, the most northern town on the British mainland.

Laura Scobie, Doctoral Researcher at the University of Edinburgh and National Museums Scotland, said: “I’m delighted to add such fascinating examples of material culture associated with contemporary Scottish whisky to the national collection, from actual bottles of whisky to surprising artistic responses from local makers.

“These items not only provide an insight into one of our leading industries but reveal a picture of Scotland in the early 21st century that will now be preserved for generations to come.”

The whisky industry currently faces concerns amidst a global demand for greater sustainability.

As a result, many new distilleries are focusing on improvements in sustainable production nad practice, building identites that embrace the nature and landscape of Scotland.

A bottle acquired for the collection from Isle of Rasaay Distillery is textured with fossil details from the region’s geological topography.

Torabhaig Distillery’s Allt Gleann Single Malt Whisky was named after one of the burns that provide the distillery with spring water.

In Gaelic, “Allt” means stream or burn and “Gleann” a glen or a valley.

On a larger scale, a backpack collaboration from Isle of Jura Distillery and accessories brand Trakke has been produced in Glasgow with materials sourced from across Scotland, including waxed cotton from Dundee that has been dyed with lichen native to Jura.  

National Museums Scotland’s contemporary collecting programme acquires objects that reflect major shifts in Scotland during the 21st century, or change our understandings of the past.

The museum says this project will complement and expand its current collections, revealing the story of Scottish whisky in the 21st century.

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