Aberlour champions British craft with Emma Willis and Crockett & Jones

Highland distillery Aberlour introduce two new stories in their Craftsmanship Series, celebrating traditional savoir-faire with Emma Willis and Crockett & Jones.

Craftsmanship, eh? It's a word that's thrown about a little too often these days — sometimes at risk of losing its true meaning. But one thing is for certain: in Britain, we're fortunate to have produced many genuine craftsmen and women over the centuries, and at Gentleman’s Journal, it remains an area we’re keen to continue to highlight; whether in classic tailoring, horology, cars, or whiskies.

Speaking of whisky, Speyside distillery Aberlour is one such brand, forged over centuries of heritage in the same traditional values of craft that are in use even today. But perhaps the most spirited of these institutions can be found in a small village in Scotland, by an even smaller tributary of the River Spey. Aberlour has been bottling fine single malts since 1879 — created using barley grown mere miles from the distillery itself, and fresh spring water drawn from Banffshire’s Ben Rinnes.

To develop their award-winning flavour profiles, each of Aberlour’s spirits sleeps for at least twelve years in Spanish sherry and American oak casks. You'll find notes of vanilla, rich dark fruits and toasted coconut throughout each sip. It's no wonder their whiskies are enjoyed not only at home, but found at every well-equipped bar around the globe.

As we've previously mentioned—when The Aberlour Craftsmanship Series joined London tailor Henry Poole—for Aberlour, crafting great whisky is an art; not a science. And, despite this attention to detail, it all comes down to the artisans’ inimitable human touch. But that's a very traditionally British notion in the first place. And in the latest from The Aberlour Craftsmanship series, we see the distillery go behind-the-scenes at another two exceptional artisans that are associated with the very best of Blighty.

The same attention-to-detail and artistry thrives in both the Scottish Highlands and on Jermyn Street. Notably at shirtmaker Emma Willis, who is featured in the latest from The Aberlour Craftsmanship series. Willis' shirts are today considered the absolute pinnacle—especially through their bespoke service, which takes up to 14 measurements, and composed of the best quality linings, stitchings, and fabrics, as well as real mother of pearl buttons.

In her own words, this is what Emma has to say about the importance of hands-on construction: "A true craftsman cares deeply about the beauty of their finished pieces of work, in every detail, inside and out. Our [artisans] are trained in a very specific way. We measure, draw patterns and cut by hand, matching all patterns at the seams, however detailed the designs. This takes a great deal more skill." There are so many phases that go into a bespoke shirt, it almost transcends being a garment into something of an artwork. "The result is a very beautiful shirt," Emma adds.

The Aberlour Craftsmanship Series also puts the spotlight on Crockett & Jones, one of the most storied shoemakers on earth. In this video, we learn about the painstaking process behind the iconic Northampton brand—who stick to handmade traditions without compromise. The manufacture of high quality Goodyear welted shoes remains very labour-intensive, requiring a highly skilled workforce to carry out more than 200 separate operations during an 8 week period. This method, originated by hand-makers centuries ago, gives the shoes an exceptional degree of strength, durability and comfort in wear.

The Goodyear welted process spans several production departments, each necessitating a multitude of different skills and experiences to ensure the shoes are completed to exacting standards. Many of the operations, relying on excellent hand-eye co-ordination, take years to learn and a lifetime to master.

Aberlour plans to delve into more of our finest artisans in the future. But in the meantime, as we settle in to enjoy a peek behind-the-scenes, and learn about the importance of tradition, heritage, and the people behind our favourite shoes, shirts, and Scotch, we raise a glass to Aberlour and their quest to tell the story of British craft.

Discover a selection of Aberlour whiskies here.

Please enjoy Aberlour responsibly.

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