Highlands & Islands

Smells like tweed spirit: Fabric gives off whisky scent

Media captionA range of products using the smart fabric are to be marketed

A new fabric has been created using Harris Tweed that will permanently give off the smell of whisky.

The cloth has been developed by Heriot Watt University's School of Textiles and Design in Edinburgh and Galashiels.

The "smart fabric" has been developed for Johnnie Walker Black Label and Harris Tweed Hebrides.

The scent called Aqua Alba has been designed to replicate aromas released from a glass of whisky, known as the nose of the liquid.

According to Johnnie Walker, the cloth smells of "rich malt, golden vanilla, red fruit and dark chocolate tones".

The tweed used was woven at Harris Tweed Hebrides' mill in Shawbost on Lewis and has the colours of the ingredients of Johnnie Walker Black Label.

Brian Wilson, the company's chairman, said the scent was a "subtle aroma" that reflected the "key notes of the nose of the liquid".

'Enormous potential'

Donald Mackay, who heads the finishing department at the mill, said: "I have worked with aromas in the past but they were only meant to withstand one dry clean.

"The process we have devised for Johnnie Walker means that this scent is layered into the fabric throughout the finishing process and is permanently imbued in the tweed."

Jim McVee, business development manager at the School of Textiles and Design, added: "Smart textiles are a fast-developing sector that offers enormous potential.

"Our brief was to assist Harris Tweed Hebrides with the development of a tweed for Johnnie Walker that incorporates a micro-encapsulated fragrance.

"Fabric technologists in Galashiels developed the prototypes which will enable Harris Tweed Hebrides to offer products using this technology in future."

The first of a range of products by Milan-based designer Angelos Bratis will be unveiled in Berlin later, before being marketed in Germany, Greece and Belgium.

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