At Reza Wood Designs, we are very proud of our local town’s connection to Japanese whisky making so we’re launching a new product to celebrate, inspired by this incredible tale of adventure and true pioneering spirit.
For the love of whisky
In 1918 a young man from Japan arrived in Scotland eager to learn something new that he could introduce to his own country. He learned the art of Scotch Whisky making and subsequently returned to his home country with something that no one had done before- and a new product.
He chose to come to Glasgow and enrolled on a chemistry course at the University of Glasgow. Seeking lodgings, he moved in with a middle class family in Kirkintilloch. He fell in love with one of the daughters and subsequently married her despite family objections due to their different cultures.
Following work experience in some of Scotland’s distilleries, the pair soon returned to Japan to start their new life together and follow their dreams.
The young man was Masataka Taketsuru, a sake distiller from Hiroshima and together with his new bride, Rita Cowan from Kirkintilloch they went on to assist with Suntory's Yamazaki Distillery and then to start The Nikka Whisky company which is now Japan's second largest whisky producer. They founded their distillery in Yoichi in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, closer to Russia than to Tokyo.
Today the story of Masataka Taketsuru and Rita Cowan - and their whisky heritage connection with Kirkintilloch is well known - thanks to a Japanese tv drama based on the couple. And each year Japanese tourists make the pilgrimage to the small Scottish town of Kirkintilloch to find out more about Rita and her life in Scotland.
Celebrating 100 years of whisky making heritage
It's now 100 years since Masataka first visited Scotland, a decision which changed the course of his life. As a local whisky barrel gifts family business and as a cross cultural couple ourselves, (Ali is Persian, while I am Scottish) we’ve always felt connected to this story. We have our own special relationship with Japan and we wanted to create a product celebrating the best of Japan and Scotland and our shared whisky connections.
Coming soon.... Special Edition Whisky Barrel Clocks with Silk Kimono cloth
In this centenary year we are very excited to be launching a special edition collection of our whisky barrel clocks with silk kimono fabric.
Our whisky barrel clocks are recycled from oak Scotch whisky barrels and barrel hoops. Every piece of barrel we work with is unique and has its own story, which makes each and every clock different from another.
This special edition collection features vintage Japanese Chirimen silk kimono cloth. As a traditional form of dress, Japanese kimono is traditionally made from a single bolt of material with silk considered the ideal fabric. The kimono patterns used often reflect the changes in the seasons.
Our blend of the best of Scottish and Japanese craftsmanship is a lasting reminder of our continued connection through shared history and shared experiences. These clocks will soon be available to buy on our website and are available for pre-ordering now. You can also sign up for our exclusive pre launch offer which will only be available to our newsletter subscribers.
Three different clock sizes will be available, our tabletop or small wall clock, our full stave wall clock and a new tall single stave as seen above, it can be freestanding or a wall clock. You can find out more about our clocks here.