Every once in a while, an opportunity presents itself that just feels right. More than a year ago, the team at the famed Glenmorangie Distillery in Tain, Scotland reached out with interest in joining our collective passions in a project called Beyond The Cask. Glenmorangie Original, the flagship expression of the Glenmorangie Distillery, is matured for ten years in the finest ex-bourbon casks, only ever used twice to provide the whisky with a rounder, smoother taste.
Renowned for its innovative whisky creation and expertise in wood, Glenmorangie was inspired to bring new life to the casks in which The Original is matured. Working side by side, we've created a series of limited edition wooden surfboards made from former Glenmorangie Original whisky casks.
Barrel staves are curved in every direction with not a parallel edge in sight. They're curved top to bottom, cupped side to side, wider in the middle then at the ends, and the edges of the staves are beveled to match the radius of the barrel. To our surprise each stave is also saturated with scotch. Not only did we have to find a way to mill the wood, we had to dry it out before we could fully mill it, to account for movement during the drying process.
Not satisfied with simple aesthetics, we were determined to find a way to use these barrel staves in a genuine and meaningful way. Our roots are in boatbuilding and white oak is a coveted material for boat frames, backbones, even planking on bigger boats. In our efforts to find a true structural use of the wood, we decided to make all of the internal frames for each board out of staves. Milling the staves to 1/4" and taking the bend out was the easy part. Finding a way to efficiently hold each stave down to the cnc machine and cut them in an efficient manner proved challenging. But we found a way and made it happen.
Replacing marine plywood as the interior of our boards has always been a goal for us. Using repurposed barrel staves hit every goal we had for this project. Add to that a tailblock and custom fins made from staves, and we feel truly proud to put the Grain brand on each board we build.
We were continually shocked at the rich tones, flecks and patterns that showed through with each stave that we milled, even after all those years of hard whisky-barrel living. Because of that, we knew we wanted to embrace the beauty of the staves on the outside of each board as well. With the weight of oak being much heavier then cedar, and with the goal to keep these boards fully functional works of art, we knew we had to create veneers and glue them to a bed of cedar planks. That allowed us to dramatically reduce the weight while still showcasing the character of the oak staves. As we dove into the milling process, we decided to take things one step further and bookmatch all of the veneers from each stave, which adds incredible detail to each board.
Each Glenmorangie Original Surfboard is made by hand in our shop in York Maine. Each board uses approximately 12 barrel staves yet only weighs a pound or two more then their full cedar counterpart. For more information, or to order your limited edition board today, visit The Glenmorangie Original board page here or Glenmorangie.com.
Please drink responsibly.