The faces behind Scotland’s top malts

12th September, 2012 by Patrick Schmitt

Those behind the world’s most revered malts aren’t just middle-aged men, as proved by a photographic tour of Scotland’s top distilleries – previewed over the following pages.

Laura-Vernon – Cragganmore; Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

Colin Hampden-White didn’t visit Scotland to dispel the notion of a stereotypical whisky maker. But having decided to capture some of Scotland’s leading distillers, he was pleasantly surprised to find very few middle-aged men with beards – which for many is the overriding image of those in the whisky trade.

Indeed, of the nine distilleries he visited and photographed – all of which are part of Diageo’s Classic Malts Selection – two of them had women making the Scotch, and one had a black Zimbabwean.

Hampden-White, who is originally from Edinburgh, is passionate about whisky, as well as wine, and captured nine different Diageo distilleries, their distillers and their surrounding landscapes.

The pictures were exhibited in January this year at his first solo show in New York, at the Rebecca Hossack gallery on Mott Street in the city’s Chinatown.

They are due to feature in London from 21 September to 31 December at the Marylebone Hotel.

Speaking of the upcoming exhibition, Hampden-White says: “The inside of the hotel is beautiful and there are lots of very nice areas for showing pictures.”

Each portrait is designed to show a different stage of the whisky making process.

As for the Diageo focus, he says that he chose to concentrate on the drinks giant’s portfolio in Scotland because of the company’s help in organising the shoots. “They were fantastic,” he says, and explains, “I was fascinated by being able to photograph possibly the oldest distillery, in Lagavulin, to the newest in Roseisle.”

• Prints of Colin Hampden-White’s images are limited to editions of five, all at 90x60cm and priced at US$2,000 each.

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