Saving the Angels’ share of whisky
A father and daughter team have managed to bottle one of Scotland’s greatest myths and are selling it to whisky lovers around the world.
Karen Somerville and Tom Young have captured the Angels’ Share of Scotland’s national drink and trapped it in a specially designed hand-blown glass angel which is flying off the shelves to tourists and collectors alike.
For centuries distillers have claimed the 2 per cent of alcohol which evaporates as the whisky matures in traditional oak barrels is taken by the Angels. It is a legend almost as popular among overseas visitors to Scotland as the Loch Ness Monster, Kelpies and Sawney Bean.
Tom, a master craftsman with more than 50 years glassblowing experience, has figured out how to get 30ml of highly flammable alcohol into a sealed angel made from molten glass heated up to 1,320 degrees C (2,400 degrees Fahrenheit).
Now, the couple who started the business Angels’ Share Glass in March this year after watching the Ken Loach film Angels’ Share, have seen demand boom since with a host of distilleries keen to sell the collectible angels with their own brands.
Karen said: “The Angels’ Share is a great legend that the Scottish whisky industry has used for centuries and it’s now a globally recognised term.
“We ended up making this because of the Angel’s Share film directed by Ken Loach. We watched the film and realised we could actually encapsulate whisky inside a glass product. It took a while to get the design and technique right. It’s pretty tricky. The process of actually sealing the whisky in is a secret.”.
The couple sent one of their first angels to Ken Loach who wrote back describing the idea as “splendid” and wishing them luck with the business as he admitted to keeping the angel on his mantelpiece.
Since launching the business from their home in the Bridge of Allan near Stirling the couple have been inundated with orders and admit to being overwhelmed by the demand.
Karen added: “ The Angels have become a great keepsake and very popular with tourists. Some of the major distillers, have really got on board with the product and were one of our first customers as there is nothing else like it in the world.
“People love it, they love the story. They love the legend and they love the idea of owning some of the Angels’ Share.”