Journey into The Original
Artist Thomas Traum reveals his vision
In his intriguing interpretation of Glenmorangie’s signature single malt, German artist Thomas Traum takes viewers on a literal, yet delightfully abstract journey from the whisky’s origins in the Scottish Highlands, to the finished bottle. London-based Traum, whose work aims to find new applications for technology’s use in design and art, took his inspiration from The Original’s singularly complex character and its ten-year journey to maturity. Harnessing ASMR triggers, he contrasted close-up camera work with wide views, to explore a variety of surfaces and textures relevant to the whisky’s creation. Then, computer-generated imagery was used to heighten and alter these experiences for the viewer. Thus, his film portrays a world filled with familiar elements – made somehow alien. These include the barley which grows in the fields around the Distillery , the Highland landscape and the wooden casks which are only ever used twice to mature The Original. Traum’s work culminates in a vivid portrayal of the myriad tastes and aromas for which this smooth and rounded whisky is renowned.
Thomas Traum: “I have always been interested in the transformational process of making single malt. When you’re making Glenmorangie Original, you start from a grain, you distil it and you leave it in a barrel for ten years. Eventually, out comes a whisky that is incredibly complex – a container for so many different tastes and aromas. I’ve always marvelled at that long process, which culminates in such an explosion of flavour.
“In the film, I wanted to explore this idea of the different elements changing state over and over again. So, barley becomes water, becomes liquid… and wood, via a distillation, becomes liquid glass – and then becomes a loch.
“The aim was to take the viewer on a journey through the whisky creation process. They start off in a beautiful place, then see the barley, the distillation, the maturation… it’s very literal in a way. But everything is slightly shifted – an unreal reality. So, for instance, you see liquid wood, reflective barley and a loch as a whisky glass. The aim was to create an essential experience – an exploration of materiality, which would give the viewer a supreme feeling of satisfaction.”