Reincarnation. Transmigration. Metempsychosis. The harsh concept of life after death. The belief that, somehow, part of our ephemeral being will continue to exist even after our last breath. The key concept in many religions, and obviously vividly present in the Brazilian’s beautiful religious syncretism.
I myself have my doubts, to tell you the truth. Once a woman stopped me on the street and said that I was the reincarnation of Winston Churchill. I smiled, because of course, that was almost a compliment. I didn’t believe her though. Listen, Lady. I’m only a reincarnation of Churchill is as far as I like whisky, because I’m a useless leader. I can’t even get my dog to pee in the garden let alone lead a nation through a time of war.
Even though I have my doubts in relation to human beings, I have no doubt it’s true for whisky – or better still whisky casks. The fact is, every year, more than twenty thousand barrels are discarded as they no longer pass on their taste to the spirit. However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t be used in other ways – like for example, for decoration. They are transformed into table tops or potted plants for example.
Even here there are very creative and innovative ways to reuse a barrel that has already fulfilled its function. I’ve put together five of them. From single malt surf boards to Irish whiskey eye glasses, these are five must-haves for any whisky lover. And best of all, they’re made from the skin that brings the best drink in the world to life.
JACK DANIEL’S GUITAR – THE PERFECT GIFT
What translates the American spirit of freedom of Jack Daniel’s better than rock ‘n roll? Based on this concept, the world-renowned Tennessee whisky brand developed this special guitar together with the designer Matias Flocco.
The instrument is made from barrels previously used to mature Jack Daniel’s and is part of a project similar to that of Glenmorangie, which includes a surk board and bicycle.
In the words of Luiz Schmidt, Marketing director of Brown Forman for South America. “Each of these barrels tells a little of our history, reveals our essence and how we believe that our way of making whisky might not be the easiest, but it’s the Jack way – done the same way and in the same distillery for more than 150 years.”
LINN & HIGHLAND PARK RECORD PLAYER
Perhaps you enjoy the simple cliché: jazz, vinyl and a good single malt. There’s nothing wrong with that. Clichés exist because they work. Throw in a cigar and you’ll be the most commonplace cliché – but definitely perfectly content.
Well aware of this – delicious – habit, the Highland Park distillery teamed up with the producer of high-end sound equipment Linn to produce a record player made from Spanish oak barrels from former sherry. The (literally) very fortunate buyers also get a bottle of Highland Park 40 years.
The total price of the package is a staggering £25,000.00 libras. It’s an expensive cliché.
The Glenmorangie surfboard takes the phrase “surfing the wave of single malts” to a whole new level. It is a partnership between the distillery and Grain Surfboards in the city of Maine and is part of a project called Beyond the Cask, which creatively makes use of disused barrels.
Each one of the boards uses 12 wooden slats from barrels previously used for maturing Glenmorangie whisky, as well as a special cedar wood covering. The price however, is certainly higher than any wave it will ever surf: $5,500.00.
SHWOOD & BUSHMILLS GLASSES
If you’ve got a hangover, but don’t want to put the whisky down for a second, here is the solution to your problems. Sunglasses by the American brand Shwood, made in partnership with the Irish Bushmills distillery.
The sunglasses are made from American oak barrels of over one hundred years old, which were used to mature Bushmills – and to top it all off, Carl Zeiss dark lenses. The price of this dark shield to guard against hangover-induced photo-phobia is $225.00.
FENDER 80 PROOF BLUES JUNIOR AMPLIFIER
The best match for a good whisky is really music. In a similar spirit to that of Jack Daniel’s, the legendary Fender produced a limited edition amplifier from used bourbon barrels taken from various distilleries. Only one hundred were made in the world.
According to Fender, just as with the casks themselves, no two amplifiers are the visually identical. The original marks from the barrels can still be seen and when turned on and with heat generated, they even emit the scent of whisky from their oak pores.
How much are these scented speakers? $1,999.00.