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Johnnie Walker and Harris Tweed blend to create the fabric of flavour

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Heriot-Watt University’s textile technology experts have helped Harris Tweed Hebrides develop a new textile that will permanently give off the smell of whisky.

Smart textiles are a fast-developing sector that offers enormous potential. Our year-long collaboration with Harris Tweed Hebrides is a great example of the ways in which we can help Scottish textile companies to develop their business, add value to their textiles and bring exciting new products to market
Jim McVee, Business Development Manager, Heriot-Watt’s School of Textiles and Design

Smart Fabric

The ‘smart fabric’ has been developed for Diageo’s Johnnie Walker Black Label and features ‘microencapsulation technology’ in which the University’s School of Textiles & Design has developed considerable expertise.

Two years ago, the technology was used in a therapeutic, healthcare context, for a producer of headwear for cancer patients.

The new Harris Tweed reflects the colours of the whisky ingredients while the fabric carries a unique scent – named Aqua Alba – designed to replicate aromas released from a glass of whisky, known as the nose of the liquid.

Heriot-Watt’s textile experts have helped to develop a process that allowed the scent to be layered into the fabric throughout the finishing process, so that it is permanently imbued in the tweed.

Jim McVee, Business Development Manager at Heriot-Watt’s School of Textiles and Design, said “Smart textiles are a fast-developing sector that offers enormous potential. Our year-long collaboration with Harris Tweed Hebrides (HTH) is a great example of the ways in which we can help Scottish textile companies to develop their business, add value to their textiles and bring exciting new products to market. Fabric technologists at the School of Textiles & Design in Galashiels, developed the prototypes and finishing expertise which will enable HTH to offer products using this technology in future further enhancing the USP of this heritage fabric range."

The chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, former UK Trade Minister, Brian Wilson, said “This is a very natural partnership of two great Scottish brands with input from one of our cutting-edge academic centres. The more of these partnerships we can promote, the better for the Scottish economy.The early indications are that the finished products are creating a high level of interest in the target markets."