Wind Chime – Distilling Wind Into Sound

IN

The spirit of whisky can move each of us in mysterious ways. It has been known to make grown men cry. Having experienced our “synergetic elixirs” for the first time when visiting earlier this year, craftsman Sean McDonald-Stewart was so moved as to create a set of beautiful sculptured wind chimes out of reclaimed casks, metal and deer antler, each inspired by and named after Bruichladdich drams that “spoke to me”.

He has called his collection, which thus far comprises embodiments of Octomore and Port Charlotte, “The Spirit and The Spirituality.” With these chimes Sean strives to give physical expression to the transcendent qualities of each dram and he hopes to create five in all.

Having shared a dram of Octomore Islay Barley with our good friend and farmer, James Brown, up at its namesake farm where the barley was grown, Sean was inspired to create a chime as robust and mighty as that whisky – the staves that bracket the chimes are from a 500 litre puncheon cask. He has brought femininity, too, in the gentle curve of the staves, which echoes the shape of the Octomore whisky’s distinctive bottle. As with all of Sean’s creations, the Octomore is imbued with the essence of his Celtic or Gael sacredness.

The Octomore has three chimes, “three being the most scared number to the Celts, symbolising past, present and future”. It is suspended from four ropes, representing the “Celtic Airts or winds” – the four points of the compass. “The sound,” says Sean, “has a delicious undercurrent to it, like the dram. The chime talks of earth, air, fire and water. It talks of true Terroir, saying “I am the hunter-gatherer on the Isle of Islay. Let me share my wisdom, so you can reclaim your beginnings, your place of well-being”.

Celtic Cross Adornments on The Porth Charlotte Wind Chime

The choice of deer antler is also spiritually significant. In Celtic lore the deer or “Damh” is strong and gentle in equal measure and thus understood to have a perfect balance of masculine and feminine qualities, something he observed in the spirit in its balance between subtle and intense flavours.

The second chime created by Sean spoke to him “of great balance and ancient sparkling magic.” Initially he felt that he was making it in homage to the ancient Bere Barley whisky but during the crafting he became convinced it more accurately encapsulated the spirit of the Port Charlotte Scottish Barley. “I knew whilst making it there was something not right in the connection with the Bere,” he says, “the Bere chime will need to have an old steel cask ring and somehow incorporate a representation of Orkney’s Brodgar stone circle.”

Sean can be found as The Celtic Chime Child on Facebook or reached on celticchimechild@gmail.com if you are interested in one of his creations.

Slainte!

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