Glen Scotia launches pioneering new music project

Award-winning whisky distillery, Glen Scotia, has unveiled details of its pioneering new music project, ‘The Sound of Glen Scotia’, which will be revealed at this year’s Campbeltown Malts Festival (23rd – 24th May 2023)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The project is an artistic collaboration between whisky writer Neil Ridley, folk singer-songwriter Jenny Sturgeon and music producer Dean Honer, who have created a new two-track musical journey using elements from around Campbeltown and the distillery to capture the essence of Glen Scotia.

The tracks will be unveiled at this year’s Malts Festival through an immersive exhibition deep inside the distillery’s atmospheric warehouse. With the room in complete darkness, a new music video, made especially for the project, will be screened on the casks in the warehouse while guests plug into a headset to listen to the A-side track, ‘Copper Heart’, with a dram in hand.

Shetland-based Jenny Sturgeon wrote and recorded vocals which capture observations of her time spent with the distillery team and in the town, soaking up the surrounding environment.

The track audio has been built using sounds of the distillery, including the banging of casks as drumbeats, mills running, soundbites of the distillery team’s conversations during production, microphones in casks of whisky, and the sounds of birds in the courtyard in a nod to the climate and unique natural environment of Scotland’s smallest whisky-making region.

Led by music producer, Dean Honer, the project used specialised audio equipment to accurately mimic the proximity of sounds. A binaural microphone, which resembles a featureless human head, was used to mimic the exact proximity of sounds as they were heard during recording. Bespoke-made hydrophones were submerged into casks of liquid, recreating a ‘suspended-in-time’ sound of the outside world, as the Glen Scotia whisky gently matured within.

These distillery sounds, gathered over several days, were then mixed with traditional acoustic instruments and Jenny’s lyrics.

Neil Ridley, whisky writer and musician, was in charge of artistic direction. He said: “With an extraordinary array of distinct sounds, frequencies, hums, knocks and rattles, Glen Scotia is quite the playground for the sound recordist. Imagine writing and recording a brand-new song where the lyrics and the instrumentation were heavily influenced by the distillery. This has been a lifelong dream of mine, with the vision of bringing to life the visceral thrill of visiting a working distillery, even if you were thousands of miles away, and we finally got the opportunity thanks to Glen Scotia.”

Jenny Sturgeon said: “My lyrics were inspired by conversations and observations of the distillery team and local historians who live and breathe the area. Hearing directly from the team – their shared vision of the distillery and what it means to them personally – was hugely inspiring.

Nick Bradley, Brand Manager at Glen Scotia said: “Every year ahead of the Festival, Glen Scotia invites an artist or artists to collaborate with the team in Campbeltown, to see the distillery and our home through their eyes and artistic medium. Our greatest hope is this can give whisky lovers all over the globe a flavour of our home.

I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to partner with these incredibly talented musicians and watch this extraordinary project come to life. It is a testament to the power of music and its ability to capture the essence of a place and its people, and the fusion of music and whisky is a truly unique way to bring our distillery and whisky-making region to life.

The collaboration follows Glen Scotia and industry writer Becky Paskin’s ‘Whisky Experiment’ at last year’s Malts Festival and artistic collaboration ‘Spirit Safe’ with Alice Angus, as Glen Scotia continues to bring to life the senses and elements that define Campbeltown and its whisky heritage.

Those unable to attend the Festival and looking to hear the second track will be able to purchase a limited-edition vinyl from the Glen Scotia website, which will be available from the end of May alongside the festival.

The B-side track on the album, ‘The Sound of Glen Scotia’, is a 17-minute fully immersive experience. Depicting the sound of barley being delivered and the ethereal high-pitched song of the copper stills, the track features rhythmic elements provided by the sound of casks being opened, filling out the bass frequencies. The track features an extraordinary array of distinct sounds and a broad spectrum of tones.

Launched in 2008, the Campbeltown Malts Festival is a celebration of the region known as the ‘Victorian Whisky Capital of the World’ due to its illustrious past and the role whisky-making has played in the town for centuries.

This year the programme will be bigger than ever before with a jam-packed series of events and an opportunity to learn more about the world’s finest drams. As well as the immersive Sound of Glen Scotia experience, guests will have the opportunity to hear directly from Neil Ridley, Dean Honer, and Jenny Sturgeon in three ticketed talks and demonstrations over the day, accompanied by a special dram.

Glen Scotia’s full programme of events and tickets are available via its website:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s