At last years London Design Festival, one of the pieces that truly stood out at the V&As The Wish List exhibition was the well-crafted wood workspace that Sebastian Cox made for Terence Conran. Now, the young British designer has teamed up with whisky brand The Glenlivet to create another show-stopper. To celebrate The Glenlivets new Ndurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish, Cox has constructed a drinks trolley inspired by the malt barrows used to turn and transport malt in the distillery.
The resulting piece, which has a reassuringly rustic look, features woven details and stands as an homage to the spirit it will hold. I came across the malt barrow and thought it would be a nice starting point, Cox says. I like to show the construction and to make things light and supple. The woven parts of the barrow come from old whisky barrels, which use oak because its porous and allows the whisky in. I wanted to use airy materials. The trolley contains a variation of different woods inspired by The Glenlivets Ndurra whisky range, including cherrywood and 3,000-year-old peat bog oakan unusual material to come across. Bog wood is quite rare, so when a farmer digs it up, people go crazy for it, Cox says. The distinctive black wood detail adds a startling, dark contrast to the lighter oak.
Coxs wooden design also includes a dram tray with a scorched design, made using hot whisky glasses, which can be bought as a separate piece. The trolley is complemented by a beautiful water and ice vessel made by glass artist Michael Ruh, which features a copper spinner and is filled with floating wood shavings. Cox explains that as Glenlivet is known as the smooth-flowing one, he and Ruh wanted to include this feeling of motion within the glass, and the wood shavings do look like they are being spun around inside the vessel. The trolley should delight whisky fans as well as admirers of Coxs work, combining as it does the old-fashioned malt barrows with a very contemporary design that only gets more fascinating as you learn the history of the wood. Some of it even retains a slight whiff of the whisky once stored in the barrels, a scent that should hopefully grow ever-stronger the more the trolley is used.
As for the Ndurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish itselfa new permanent addition to The Glenlivet Ndurra (meaning “natural” in Gaelic) portfolioit’s an uncommon delight. The brand has long stuck to its house style, better known as the Speyside style: lighter, oakier and creamy whiskies. With the new Ndurra, matured Glenlivet is then finished in peated whisky barrelslending a hefty smoke inflection from nose to finish. This isn’t a peated whisky as most are familiar with; it’s a peat cask finished, single-malt scotch. It also happens to be bottled at cask strength123 proof. Adding a bit of water not only opens it up, but reveals its true Glenlivet heritage and a vanilla toffee heart.
The Ndurra is actually the second whisky released by The Glenlivet this year. The Founder’s Reserve, which debuted in September, was their first foray into no-age-statement whiskiesand they couldn’t have pulled it off better. It’s an entry-level, single-malt scotch with a smooth creaminess and flashes of fruit. The finish is complex, but always within reach. The point of the spirit was to pay homage to The Glenlivet founder, George Smith and, in doing so, they’ve made a welcome addition to the core range that also holds its own in whisky cocktails.
A limited number of trolleys will be made-to-order from The New Craftsmen at 4,200 each. Ndurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish is rolling out in select markets, for $85. The Founder’s Reserve is now available nationwide for $45.
Additional reporting by David Graver
Trolly photos courtesy of The Glenlivet, scotch photos by David Graver