Whisky Focus - Fettercairn Distillery Celebrates Replanting of Ancient Forest

Fettercairn Distillery Celebrates Replanting of Ancient Forest

24th July 2021
As part of Whyte & Mackay’s expansion of their Scottish Oak programme, Fettercairn is set to celebrate the replanting of an ancient forest and they are set to release the first Fettercairn Scottish Oak bottling in 2022.

Fettercairn Forest Vision - image shows how newly planted forest will look 100+ years from now (new trees shown in lighter green)

Following on from the announcement of Whyte & Mackay’s expansion of their Scottish Oak programme, Fettercairn is set to celebrate the replanting of an ancient forest. With a view to producing its own single-estate, Scottish oak-matured malt whiskies, the distillery has partnered with acclaimed environmental artist Rob Mulholland to mark the occasion.

Fettercairn Distillery has unveiled details of 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.

Gregg Glass, Master Whisky Maker at Whyte and Mackay said,

"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."

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," said Rob.

The aim of the sculpture project is to develop further installations across the forest and estate as the initiative evolves.

The first Fettercairn Scottish Oak bottling is set to be released in 2022, meanwhile you will find the current Fettercairn single malt whisky range available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, Amazon and Master of Malt

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