What use can a used 100-year-old whisky cask ever have? Well, with over 20,000 being discarded each year, there is plenty of scope. And they include a wedding ring, a pen, skateboard, and even a record turntable – valued at £25,000.
The organisers of World Whisky Day have done some homework on the case, and have come up with the top ideas which may make an ideal Christmas gift for any whisky lover.
Spokesman Simon Lyle said: “ The Scottish whisky industry alone condemns a whopping 20,000 Scotch whisky casks to landfill every year.
“We’ve found eight of the most ingenious ways that people have found to offer these lovely barrels an alternative and unique retirement option.”
These amazing gift ideas include:
A Linn record turntable
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, high-end hi-fi manufacturers Linn teamed up with Highland Park to create 40 suave turntables using Spanish sherry oak casks.
For the £25,000 price Linn also threw in a bottle of 40-year-old Highland Park worth £2,185. The spokesman said: “We are sure this would have helped to numb the pain of a struggling bank balance.”
These are made from reclaimed white oak bourbon whisky casks. They intricately combine cobalt or titanium with a small 'shard' of barrel. The maker, Wedgewood Rings, has a large stock, including casks from Jack Daniel's, Jim Beam and Buffalo Trace.
You might also like:
Fender 80 Proof Blues Junion Amplifier are crafted from a mix of whisky cask, brass metal dials and a leather handle, leaving the woodwork exposed to show off the stains and nicks of the reclaimed barrel.
American firm Shwood has teamed up with Bushmills Irish Whisky and Bodega to produce limited edition sunglasses. They are crafted from 100-year-old white oak casks.
Staff at Salvaged Skateboards specialise in making skateboards out of recycled wood, including from whiskey casks that have already been reclaimed by the Allagash Brewery in Maine as craft brew barrels.
Bushmills Irish Whisky have teamed up with Lowden Guitars, which has made instruments for some of the best-known musicians in the industry, including Eric Clapton and Van Morrison. The oak in the guitars is made from casks used for Bushmills Black Bush, Bushmills 16 year old single malt, and Bushmills 21-year old single malt.
Scottish firm McKay Flooring found a sustainable and eco-friendly way to reinvent used barrels, being careful to retain the marks, scuffs and labels to ensure each floor is unique.
Pens are being made by the Whisky Wood Pen Company from reclaimed casks from a range of Scottish distilleries and cooperages, featuring gold-plated fittings.
There are currently 20 million casks of whisky maturing in warehouses in Scotland. To be Scotch Whisky they must mature in oak casks in Scotland for at least three years.
Simon Lyle added: “The trusty whisky cask plays the long game. Even before getting its first sniff of a dram, the oak used to make the casks is slowly dried outdoors for up to a year.
“After being exposed to the elements it's kiln-dried, assembled and charred before its life as a vessel for whisky can begin."
In 2014, the overall economic contribution of Scotch Whisky industry to UK is £4.956bn.
Each year, producers spend £1.8bn on suppliers - 90% of that expenditure is in the UK, including £1.4bn in Scotland.
Dry goods, including bottles and packaging, cereals, energy and transport and distribution make up the majority of purchases.
Capital expenditure makes up £142m – up 31% since 2008 – of the total industry spend. Some 70% of that is outside Scotland in other parts of the UK and overseas.
According to the Scotch Whisky Association Every job in the industry supports a further 2.7 British jobs.
So far in 2015, exports in the first six months totalled £1.7million, which shows evidence that the recent decline is slowing.
Exports earn £135 a second.