Retaining its Victorian character, the concept pays homage to a bygone era and gives the whisky explorer a real sense of what it must have been like for the traveller arriving in Campbeltown during the whisky heydays.
Great Brink blends craft with industrialism in the new design of the Glen Scotia Whisky Experience in Campbeltown, on the Kintyre Peninsula.
The interior uses stone, oak, copper and brass in conjunction with glass, cast iron and tweed giving the space a current, but timeless feel. The oak cabinets, which were all hand crafted in Edinburgh, have long, low drawers that can be pulled out to present the bottles to the curious visitor. Copper and brass add beauty and durability to the cabinets and the halo lights illuminate all the different ages of whisky in the racks to mesmorise the whisky lover.
The distillery space is limited by its town centre location, so every inch was maximised to meet the brief and was reconfigured to accommodate a tasting area, retail space and office. Divided into three functional areas that interconnect, the space feels intimate. A large copper sliding door and a glass hatch in the shop counter allow the Distillery Manager to interact with the visitors as he goes about his whisky making. “Historically, a visit to the Distillery had always felt like a personal tour and we did not want to lose that, so the design was created to reflect the bespoke experience you can expect there.”
To complete the full whisky adventure, Great Brink designed and produced a heritage range of merchandise for the shop. The explorer range is made with a bespoke Glen Scotia tweed that was woven by Knockando Woolen Mill in Speyside. The colours and textures reflect the Kintyre landscape and the products feature the famous quote from golfing legend old Tom Morris who said that if there was a golf and whisky heaven, the gates would be in Kintyre. The bespoke pieces include a whisky bag with everything you’d need for a whisky and golf adventure as well as clothing and accessories for your travels. The quote woven into the products reads: “The Almichty Maun have had gowf in his e’e when he made this place”.
Founded in 1832, Glen Scotia is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland and has a history dating back to the Victorian Age when Campbeltown was known as the capital of the whisky industry. It houses an original Armour’ spirit safe, which is nearly 200 years old and one of only two left in the world. The spirit safe was recently decommissioned from the distillery, but has since been restored by Great Brink for the whisky experience, so that visitors can see it fully functioning alongside the tasting table.
The smell of whisky hits you as soon as you approach the building. Passing the portrait of Highland Mary, the wife of Robert Burns, whose cottage once stood there, you enter through a low door in the quiet street. The design of the space makes you feel that you have arrived by private invitation to someone’s personal cellar for a well earned refreshment after a long journey.
Glen Scotia produces malt whiskies of an exceptional pedigree. Each cask is hand selected by the master blender, John Peterson, and each bottle offers the unique flavours of a Campbeltown Malt Whisky. The passion of the people who make the whisky, both past and present is evident everywhere and it is said that the ghost of the former proprietor, Duncan MacCallum, keeps a keen eye on all who stop in for a dream Tours of the distillery are available and can be booked through the shop.
Project: Glen Scotia Distillery, Visitor Centre
Location of the project: Campbeltown, Argyll & Bute
Photographer: Colin Homes
Designer: James Strong @ Great Brink Ltd.
Designer is based in UK, Scotland