The making of our ‘Whiskmas’ tree – and other whisky barrel gifts!

Our whisky barrel Christmas tree

Whisky Barrel Christmas Tree surrounded by Christmas gifts

Visitors to our Scotch Whisky Shop are loving our new whisky barrel Christmas tree which is creating a spectacular impression at the entrance to our Scotch whisky shop. It was specially commissioned as part of our work with wonderful merchandising expert Arantxa Garcia from Exhibio VM, and was crafted with immense skill and dedication – here’s how:

1. Gather a lot of whisky barrel staves

Whisky Barrel being taken apart for barrel staves

200 whisky barrel staves were used in the construction of the tree, created by Niall Wilson of Sandwood Designs. A wood craftsman based near Glasgow, Niall creates stunning whisky barrel furniture, with chairs, tables and an array of other gifts created from repurposed barrel staves. However, our 8ft Christmas tree was one of his biggest challenges yet! The staves came from a mystery distillery, and if you come and see the tree before January 12 2017, you can enter our Instagram /  Twitter competition to guess their origin.

2. Sand them down and oil them ‘till they look their best


Each individual stave had to be sanded down using a rough sanding disc, in order to clean away the ‘charred’ inside of the barrel. This created a huge amount of dust, and had to be undertaken in a special booth with an extraction system. They were then oiled to seal the charred side.

3. Assemble the Christmas tree sections

Steel metal rings to assemble whisky barrel Christmas tree

The tree was assembled from four sections and bound with 5 steel bands. These had been rolled by a metal work artist, then lacquered to keep their patina and prevent rusting. The staves were fixed to a circular top and base within the bands.

3. Switch on the lights and surmount with a star

Finished whisky Christmas tree in workshop

No Christmas tree would be complete without lights and a star. Our lights were hidden from direct view by the metal rings holding the tree together, giving a soft uplighting affect to the beautiful whisky staves, and a gleam from certain angles. Finally, the tree was topped with a wooden star engraved with The Scotch Whisky Experience logo.

Our top Whisky barrel gifts for Christmas

If you fancy a Christmas tree like ours (or even on a grand scale like the famous Jack Daniels whiskey barrel Christmas tree!), you’ll have to commission your own, as we hope to have ours adorning our Shop for many Christmasses to come! However, if you’d like to take home a piece of whisky history to adorn your home, here’s a selection of our most popular whisky barrel gifts, in no particular order.

Whisky tasting barrel stave

whisky barrel gift - whisky tasting stave

Create your own whisky tasting in fine style with these brilliant tasting staves, from The Whisky Barrel Company.

Whisky barrel picture frame

Whisky barrel picture frame - a whisky barrel gift from The Scotch Whisky Experience

Highlight your memories with super cool whisky barrel stave picture frames – brilliantly presented, the staves are even traceable to their distillery of origin.

Whisky barrel keyring

Whisky keyring - a whisky barrel gift from The Scotch Whisky Experience

As a small stocking-filler for a Scotch whisky fan, these barrel stave keyrings engraved with Scotland’s famous toast ‘Slàinte Mhath’, meaning ‘Good Health’.

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