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Artist and distillery collaborate to help save River Dee wildlife

Burn o’ Bennie Distillery celebrates its launch with artistic collaboration
A leading Scottish artist has joined forces with a new Highland whisky distillery to raise awareness and funds for one of the country’s most ambitious nature-restoration projects.

To celebrate its launch, the Burn o’ Bennie Distillery collaborated with Peter Howson to commission a series of major oil paintings and sketches entitled The World is on Fire, on the theme of the environment at this auspicious time.

The Aberdeenshire distillery has also bottled a rare and old whisky series to support the River Dee Trust’s #OneMillionTrees campaign, one of the biggest nature restoration projects in the Cairngorms. The trees will help save endangered species, including the river’s iconic salmon, by shading the water against dangerously rising temperatures.

Special limited-edition prints of Howson’s work are being sold alongside numbered bottles of the whisky, decorated with labels designed by Howson, to raise funds for the nationally-recognised restoration scheme.

This art-whisky initiative will culminate in the auction next year of an original preparatory sketch by Howson, along with the first of the limited-edition bottles of 30-year-old Aberfeldy from a single cask, described as “magnificent” by Charles MacLean. A leading auction house will be conducting the sale, and has valued the joint lot at £5,500.

This is the first in a series of sponsorship initiatives by Burn o’ Bennie Distillery, with a total value of more than £100,000, designed to help plant a million native trees along the Dee’s tributaries.

The distillery’s co-founder, Liam Pennycook, said, “Whisky is known as the water of life, and the life of the river which flows past us is under threat. We are delighted to be able to help the River Dee Trust deliver such an important project, and to collaborate with Peter Howson on such a critical theme for us all.”

Describing his main painting, Peter Howson said, “Two children are guiding humanity through the wasteland of devastation, suffocating smoke and heat, in an industrial nightmare. My vision is a hopeful one and pays tribute to the young people leading the way towards saving the planet.”

Sandy Bremner, who chairs the River Dee Trust, added, “We are in a race against time to help the river adapt to rising temperatures. We are making good progress but funding is a constant challenge, so we are extremely grateful for this generous support. It will help us deliver on our ambitious plans.”

To register an interest in purchasing a numbered bottle of the Aberfeldy with a limited-edition Howson print, contact Burn o’ Bennie Distillery.