In an unusual take on whisky glasses, British artisan eyewear company Finlay & Co has teamed up with distiller Glenmorangie to produce a pair of 1950s and Finlay & Co’s classic shape-inspired sunglasses (£300), hand-whittled from American-oak whisky casks. And the chic, dappled-wood handcrafted glasses – which come in an edition of 1,843 to reflect when the Scottish distillery was founded – still retain the faintest aroma of the aged oak.
“We work with a variety of woods – rosewoods, walnut, beech and maple – but this is the first time we’ve worked with oak,” says Tom Stannard, who co-founded Finlay & Co in 2012 with David Lochhead, Dane Butler and Sam Lawson Johnston. At first the company created each pair of glasses from one solid block of wood, but design innovations have led to a new structure: “We now use four, seven or 12 layers, depending on the wood and the design. For the Glenmorangie pair we’re using a four-layer laminate with a fifth layer in certain places – a cross-bond against the grain, which gives the frame an added strength. We particularly love that each pair is unique due to the natural grain of wood.”
“Glenmorangie is all about time, care and respect for wood – so much so that we only use our casks twice – and so is Finlay & Co,” says Dr Bill Lumsden, director of distilling and whisky creation at Glenmorangie. “We’re delighted to support an upcoming British company that thinks the way we do.”
To celebrate the launch, a Beyond the Cask pop-up whisky bar is open until March 12 at Glenmorangie’s Bateman Street shop, serving drams (including of Glenmorangie 1963 and Pride 1978), cocktails (such as Smoke and Mirrors, a mix of Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, wood-smoked hojicha tea, blackberry and raspberry shrub, and finished with Antica Formula sweet vermouth), and food and whisky pairings (with expressions from Glenmorangie’s prestige range, 18-year-old, 25-year-old and Signet).