John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
It's a burst of fashion genius that could only originate in Scotland.
Few people heading out for a night on the town stop at the door and think, Hmmm, better splash some booze on me first. Yet that's basically the service being offered by designers at Heriot-Watt University, who are developing a tweed fabric imbued with the sweet, peaty scent of scotch.
Such a concept could only originate in one place, and sure enough, Heriot-Watt is located in Scotland, a couple hours south of Edinburgh. The university's School of Textiles and Design is leading the push to make this whisky-scented fabric, with partners including Johnnie Walker and Harris Tweed Hebrides on the Isle of Lewis.
According to industry rag The Drinks Business, the cloth will incorporate a smoky Aqua Alba fragrance meant to mimic Johnnie Walker Black; it will emit aromas of "rich malt" and "golden vanilla," as well as "red fruit and dark chocolate tones."
Best or worst of all, depending on one's concern over being taken for the town souse, the whisky perfume is driven so deep into the fabric that it won't come out in the laundry. Here's The Drinks Business again with details on the pungent tweed, reportedly soon to be available in Berlin:
Donald Mackay, in charge of finishing at Harris Tweed’s Shawbost mill, said this was the first smart fabric he has worked with that had been successfully designed to withstand multiple dry cleans.
“I have worked with aromas in the past but they were only meant to withstand one dry clean. The process we have devised for Johnnie Walker means that this scent is layered into the fabric throughout the finishing process and is permanently imbued in the tweed,” he said.