In the rolling foothills of the Cairngorms, Glaswegian land artist Rob Mulholland has created a public sculpture for Fettercairn Distillery. Created from 800 metres of round recycled stainless steel bars, FOREST FLOW celebrates a 10-year project to plant a forest of oak saplings next to the distillery on the 8,500-acre Fasque Estate.
This future-focused project establishes a new land-management vision of providing responsibly sourced and managed local wood in which to mature whisky, with the intention to ultimately enable Fettercairn to craft single-estate whiskies.
Set on a clear pool of spring water from a natural source only a few hundred yards away, FOREST FLOW draws its inspiration from the cycle of growth of the saplings nearby. This bespoke piece of art has been created to harmonise with its environment through the depiction of essential whisky-making ingredients – water, locally grown barley and wood for maturation. The sculpture also celebrates the water-cooling ring on the stills at Fettercairn.
The artist said, “...I was inspired after seeing the water flowing into the distillery from the nearby well, filling the mash tuns and pouring over the outside of the stills – a constant sense of movement and life as the water is circulated over the stills and then naturally cooled and re-circulated.
This is the same water that sustains the newly planted Fettercairn forest and nourishes the surrounding landscape… I wanted to capture this life-giving flow in my sculpture and convey the close relationship that the whole whisky process has with the natural environment…
...Time is a key element in creating whisky and in creating sculpture, a synergy of craft that permeates both practices. I hope that my work conveys both crafts and harnesses our respect for the setting and natural environment at Fettercairn.”
Stewart Walker, Fettercairn distillery manager, added, “We love the idea that Rob’s stunning work will keep watch over the mighty oaks in our sustainable forest 150 to 200 years from now. We are extremely proud when we look at Rob’s artistic endeavour… We are confident it will become iconic on our regional landscape – loved by visitors and the local community alike.”
The Fettercairn Forest project is led by whisky maker Gregg Glass, who has conducted numerous trials with wind-felled and responsibly sourced Scottish oak. Fettercairn Distillery has already laid down whiskies in different types of Scottish oak cask and plans to release the first commercially available Fettercairn Scottish Oak bottling next year. Mulholland’s sculpture is due to be incorporated into the Distillery visitor experience from 2022.