Behind the scenes of the photo shoot for our newly designed Glenfiddich 18 Year Old packaging

14 October 2014

We spent hours painstakingly deconstructing one of our casks to create a work of art specially commissioned to celebrate the newly designed packaging for our award winning 18 Year Old single malt.

To help us with the task, we enlisted the expertise of Glenfiddich cooper, Sean Caird. He took a moment at the shoot to talk to us about the cask used on the set, as well as his role at our distillery and the importance of having an on-site cooperage.

GF: Tell us a bit about yourself, Sean.

SC: Well, I'm 22 years old, but you could say whisky making has always been in my blood. My grandfather was a cooper and my dad worked at the Aberlour distillery for 15 years. I remember finding my grandfather's tools in the shed and being fascinated by them. I've been coopering for six years now, starting at the Speyside Cooperage before joining Glenfiddich.

GF: How has the cooper's art changed over the years?

SC: Actually very little has changed. I use hand tools like a hammer and driver, a cooper's 'adze', which is a sharp curved tool we use to clean up the wood. We do use machinery to help improve efficiency, a bank of machines to punch holes for riveting, a hoop driver, and a skiving machine to cut away just a couple of millimetres, exposing fresh, new wood.

GF: What's happening here on the shoot today?

SC:  What we're trying to do is show the different components of a cask, how everything fits together. I've had to do quite a bit of preparation, carefully selecting a cask from the cooperage store to be shipped down for the shoot. But mostly the work has happened here today, for example the cask needed toasting so I had to hire a gas burner at short notice to toast the inside.

GF: What kind of cask was used on the shoot?

SC: It's actually a distillery puncheon. That's the same shape as the marrying tun used to marry the 18 Year Old single malt in small batches for three months, creating the consistency this expression is renowned for.

GF: What's your favourite Glenfiddich?

SC: I like the 12 Year Old. I try every whisky neat the first time to appreciate its true flavours and character, but I usually enjoy it with ice and a drop of water.

GF: What's it like working for a family run business?

SC: I really enjoy working at Glenfiddich. The family genuinely take an interest in what we do and they ask for our opinions and views. I prefer it to my old job because there's a greater level of attention to detail and care. You genuinely do feel part of the Glenfiddich family here.

GF: What's the best bit about your job?

SC: It's very satisfying. I spend my time repairing casks and it's rewarding to finish the day and walk past the ones I've spent time and care fixing. There are only 200 or so coopers left in Scotland, so people are genuinely interested in what I do.

GF: Thank you!

SC: You're welcome. Cooperage is a great trade and an ancient craft and it feels great to keep our traditions alive.

You can continue following the story of our newly designed packaging for our award winning 18 Year Old edition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where we’ll be uploading more exclusive footage of Sean’s work from our photo shoot.

Next time on the blog, we’ll be talking to our Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, and our Global Brand Ambassador, Ian Millar, about the special, award-winning liquid inside this new bottle.