Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Balvenie Commission

Speyside distillery The Balvenie have always been known for their fine sense of craftmanship - evident in their floor malted barley (a technique practiced by only a handful of Scottish distilleries these days), their many craftsman working on site (some for over 50 years) on their stills and at their on-site cooperage (which Steph and I were fortunate enough to visit earlier this year, during a tour of the distillery), and their strong support of craftsmanship in other industries.

In fact, you need only look at this year's Balvenie Craft Fair and last year's Balvenie Craft Bar in Sydney to see the close relationship The Balvenie have with craftsman from a range of industries.


To further celebrate this relationship, The Balvenie have recently launched a new website called The Balvenie Commission, featuring articles, videos and photography that celebrates the world of craft and delves into the works of makers. Described as a "global hub for those passionate about making things by hand", the site also showcases The Balvenie’s commitment to craftsmanship through the results of its "Commission bursary", which has funded many collaborations with makers around the world.

Each month, the "Features" section sees guest writers bringing different perspectives on "craftsmanship", including a report from Cool Hunting on hitting the streets of New York City to meet local makers.



The "Commissions" section features articles on craftspeople who have been commissioned by The Balvenie. The site currently features articles on Scottish wood craftsman Sam Chinnery, James Rogan, a renowned documentary film-maker, and iconic London bespoke shoe-maker and leather goods specialist G.J. Cleverley & Co.

The last section of the site, covering Craft News, collates news from blogs and magazines around the world to ensure readers are kept up to date with all the latest stories from the world of craftsmanship.

I've always been a big fan of fine craftsmanship, having the philosophy that it's often better to spend a little extra for something hand-crafted that you know will stand the test of time, rather than something mass-produced that in all likelihood won't. Clearly The Balvenie have the same philosophy, which has been captured brilliantly in this new website (which we've already bookmarked and will return to regularly). As a starting point, we recommend this article on shoemaker G.J. Cleverley & Co, including a stunning handcrafted leather case made for The Balvenie Forty Year Old. This article on "the search for authenticity" is also worth a read too.

The Balvenie Commission is online now and can be found at http://www.thebalveniecommission.com/.

Cheers,
Martin.

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