Project Ampersand is a collaborative exercise initiated by Edinburgh-based brewer Innis & Gunn. It challenges four contemporary Scottish brands – REVO, INSTRMNT, KESTIN HARE and COCO – to create a unique product inspired by the barrel-ageing process of their acclaimed craft beer – The Original.
Revo’s involvement comes in the form of an extremely limited edition version of our SuperConnect table radio, with each example hand-crafted from oak barrel staves sourced from the Speyside Cooperage in the Highlands of Scotland, the birthplace of the beer barrels Innis & Gunn use in the production of their signature craft beer.
The Cooperage in Craigellachie, near Aberlour in Banffshire, Scotland, is a place where for generations skilled craftsmen have manufactured, repaired and refurbished oak barrels, mainly for the Scotch whisky industry, but also for enlightened non-spirits producers such as Innis & Gunn. The majority of the barrels are made from American white oak and have a working life of upwards of 40 years, being used for whisky, bourbon, sherry, port and brandy production. Innis & Gunn’s The Original is aged in barrels that were once used for the production of bourbon, resulting in The Original benefitting from notes of vanilla and toffee being imparted during the process.
Revo’s CEO David Baxter explains how the Ampersand SuperConnect came into being. “When considering our concept we quickly decided that if possible we wanted to build cabinets using oak staves – the narrow planks of bevelled wood used in the construction of barrels. On our trip to the cooperage on Speyside we spotted a large pile of weathered staves sitting outside in the yard and enquired if there was any way we could have access to a quantity. Within a week we were in possession of enough to make some sample planks and our first test cabinet.”
The benefit of a solid oak cabinet would be that it would have an authenticity and tactility that would make each example very special.
“The idea was that the Ampersand SuperConnect would be the first and almost certainly only example of SuperConnect to be made from solid wood, rather than an MDF and real wood veneer mix – which is the norm. Audio products, whether it be radios or loudspeakers are very rarely made from solid wood. It’s very difficult to mass-produce products using solid wood, because each plank is so different – from variations in colour and grain, to imperfections and challenges with warping etc. The benefit of a solid oak cabinet would be that it would have an authenticity and tactility that would make each example very special. Each and every one with a slightly different colour and grain pattern, each one unique.”
“Our aim was to create something that suggested that it was once something else, while not becoming kitsch and looking like a radio made from an old barrel. In collaboration with master craftsman Niall Wilson of Glasgow-based carpentry firm Sandwood Designs, we experimented with leaving the oak staves relatively rustic and raw, and we tried taking the wood down to a smooth finish, before settling on a hybrid of the two. A clean finish that still exhibits some of the original barrels character, unvarnished and real. The addition of a laser etched Ampersand logo and the GPS coordinates of the yard on Speyside where the staves were sourced, complete a very unique version of our iconic SuperConnect design.”
The Project Ampersand version of SuperConnect is available in very limited numbers only from our online shop at £499.95.
For further information about the project, Innis & Gunn The Original and the collaborations with Keston Hare, Coco and Instrmnt please visit:
4th November: The Project Ampersand version of SuperConnect is now sold out.