The Sound of the Speyside Cooperage

Speyside is more than its river valley. It is a community. So, I decided to visit the Speyside Cooperage near Craigellachie, to find out more. It’s a slight detour from the Speyside Way, but it was well worth visiting. I was mesmerised by the cooper’s craft and how fast they work, but I was also intrigued by the sound of the workshop.

“The cooperage established in 1947; they use traditional methods of coopering by shaping, shaving and charring casks used by the whisky industry.”

Speyside Cooperage. (2022). Speyside Cooperage. Available: Last accessed 24th March 2022

The tool sounds hitting the casks reverberated within the barrels and the space. The workshop is a large warehouse and this allowed the sound to echo within the space. The craftsmen’s speed created a working rhythm and rather than hearing the noise, to me, it sounded like music. The link below is an example of how I hear the sounds.

The Cooper’s Tools.

Dowelling stock, side-axe, bick iron, round shave, Topping plane, chive, Croze, bung-hole borer, hammer, driver, flagging iron, adze, diagonals, heading knife, jigger, hollowing knife, buzz, swift, downright and an inside shave.

I think the cooper’s tools sound noisy but, what is noise? Noise is an unwanted sound. I perceive a sound depending on how I feel. If I find the sound too loud, too repetitive, or it brings unwanted memories to mind, then I consider the sound to be noise. When I first started recording soundscapes, I was always searching for a pure sound without noise. Over time, I have learned to love most sounds. Do you think the sound of the cooperage is noisy or a beautiful melody? 

I really enjoyed my visit to the cooperage, if you would like more information or want to book a tour, you can visit there website at