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From Barrel to Bottle: Profile

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From Barrel to Bottle: Profile

Whisky and photography don’t appear to share anything in common at surface level, but as we began our journey into both, we realized they paired as nicely as a dram and good company.  We are @frombarreltobottle, a company started by four friends: Erik, Brad, Braydon and Robbie, living in Calgary, Canada close to beautiful Banff and Lake Louise.

It all started about 3 years ago when our most senior member, Erik, a commercial and landscape photographer, was approached by Macallan to photograph a bottle with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop.  Erik jumped on this opportunity and took a helicopter to a remote cabin, capturing some stunning images. These photographs were incredibly well-received by both Macallan and the whisky community. Like finding a dusty bottle on a shelf, we realized that this was an untapped opportunity—a rare find in the saturated photography world today.

All of us had been exposed to scotch and had varying levels of interest and knowledge, but at this stage our interest was very high and our knowledge very low. We began blindly buying bottles and enjoying them as a group, with as much ice as possible, ultimately experimenting to find a better appreciation. On the weekends we would wake up at 4:30am to chase the sunrise in the mountains and capture images of our newly purchased bottles, honing our photography skills and sharing a dram or two with friends—which is a great treat when the air is -30 degrees Celsius.

We decided to start an Instagram page to share our adventures and connect with the whisky community. Instantly our photos were blowing up and our account was soaring.  We continued buying bottles to experience all the different regions, learning about ageing processes and cask finishes. We also swapped out our ice for a bit of water instead. Big brands like Glenfiddich and Balvenie began to see our work and we were invited to whisky festivals and launch parties. This was a huge catalyst for expanding our whisky knowledge and learning what pleased our pallets.  An appreciation of just how vast and complex the whisky world really is dawned on us, but bottle by bottle we had the tough job of trying each and every expression we could get our hands on.  We eventually started being introduced to rare bottles, like Ardbeg 1815.

New requests pushed us to keep up with the demands of high-end photography, whether shooting in bright landscapes or dark pubs. Photo by photo, we endeavoured to capture the beauty of the bottle and more importantly, the liquid inside, with its stunning colours and the cloudiness of a good non chill filtered bottle when exposed to the harsh Canadian winters.  From Barrel To Bottle continued to grow with tens of thousands of followers across the world, and many opportunities came with it. We began to see similarities in our two passions: they both take time and experience to perfect, and high quality spirits and photos are timeless and always appreciated by those who know. These things outlive trends like extreme cask finishing or oversaturated HDR photos.

In February of 2018 our dreams came true and we were flown to Scotland to photograph Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, a trip of a lifetime! We explored everything from the Highlands to the Hebrides and fell in love with Scotland and everything about it: the whisky, the people, the process, the history and the stunning surroundings. We were hooked. Since then we have been back to Scotland several times (though not as many as we would like in 2020) and have continued refining our pallets, finding favourite distilleries, and priding ourselves on our rare and unique bottles.

Our photography has followed suit and we have had the pleasure of photographing many amazing releases including the The Macallan Editions, the Balvenie Stories — which got us featured in Forbes, and several other amazing bottles. Photography visually helps bring people together to create memories, and whisky does the exact same with its smell and taste. Every time we enjoy a familiar dram we are transported to the adventures and moments we shared with that single malt. Our journey in both whisky and photography has taught us so much but we still have so much to learn, and that is what keeps us excited. There are always new expressions to be tasted and new photos to be taken, and we can’t wait to see where this journey will take us.

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