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Scotch Grain - Unknown To Us...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by well-kept, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. well-kept

    well-kept Senior Member

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    The subject of the origin of Scotch Grain calf arose in another thread. Someone suggested it had originally been calf soaked in Scotch. I did a little research and found this:


    ""BruichLaddich Grain"™ was originally developed by thrifty Scots on the Isle of Islay as a method of utilizing the mash byproduct of the whisky distillation process. Romanticized stories are oft told to credulous tannery tourists of the process dating to the Picts, but that's unlikely. Utilizing vintage charred oak barrels that have served their whisky aging purpose, Highland cattle skins are layered within the barrels and interspersed with copious amounts of leftover barley mash.

    Over time, sometimes as long as 12 or more years, the skins develop the familiar pebbled, shrunken grain. The mash also imbues the skin with its customary Cognac colour.

    Hides aged 30 years are the connoisseur's choice, and only available at the most exclusive bespoke bootmakers. Most are private firms who only accept commissions via referral. Completely unknown on enthusiast forums.

    In less democratic times the skins were reserved for nobles. Known in the U.S. as "Scotch" grain, a misnomer. Scots grain is correct for those unable to properly pronounce BruichLaddich, (which is, for what it's worth, Brook Laddie). Much of what passes for genuine Scots grain is ersatz non-Celtic dairy cattle gunge squeezed between embossing rollers to simulate the effect of mash aging."


    Well, it's no longer unknown on enthusiast forums. Credulous or otherwise.
     

  2. swoobie

    swoobie Senior Member

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    The subject of the origin of Scotch Grain calf arose in another thread. Someone suggested it had originally been calf soaked in Scotch. I did a little research and found this:


    ""BruichLaddich Grain"â„¢ was originally developed by thrifty Scots on the Isle of Islay as a method of utilizing the mash byproduct of the whisky distillation process. Romanticized stories are oft told to credulous tannery tourists of the process dating to the Picts, but that's unlikely. Utilizing vintage charred oak barrels that have served their whisky aging purpose, Highland cattle skins are layered within the barrels and interspersed with copious amounts of leftover barley mash.

    Over time, sometimes as long as 12 or more years, the skins develop the familiar pebbled, shrunken grain. The mash also imbues the skin with its customary Cognac colour.

    Hides aged 30 years are the connoisseur's choice, and only available at the most exclusive bespoke bootmakers. Most are private firms who only accept commissions via referral. Completely unknown on enthusiast forums.

    In less democratic times the skins were reserved for nobles. Known in the U.S. as "Scotch" grain, a misnomer. Scots grain is correct for those unable to properly pronounce BruichLaddich, (which is, for what it's worth, Brook Laddie). Much of what passes for genuine Scots grain is ersatz non-Celtic dairy cattle gunge squeezed between embossing rollers to simulate the effect of mash aging."


    Well, it's no longer unknown on enthusiast forums. Credulous or otherwise.


    Really interesting info. Thanks so much for the research...
     

  3. meister

    meister Distinguished Member

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    I had thought Scotch Grain was a "corrected grain" type leather in modern times?[​IMG]
     

  4. laufer

    laufer Distinguished Member

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    Well-kept,

    thank you so much for your research, this is what keeps bringing me back to SF. Now let's start figuring out who can refer us for the very first pair of 30 years aged pair of shoes made of the real scotch grain leather.
     

  5. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Distinguished Member

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    Thanks for the info. Please provide the source link(s).
     

  6. well-kept

    well-kept Senior Member

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  7. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Distinguished Member

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    [​IMG] I've learned something today. Thank you for sharing the information.
     

  8. well-kept

    well-kept Senior Member

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    I've never really looked too closely at the differences in Scotch Grains. This morning, in sunlight, I did, and there are significant differences. With Edward Greens the texture is clearly embossed into the hide. Some of the old Florsheims, though not all, are of a much more subtle texture and may well be shrunken rather than embossed.
     

  9. Xiaogou

    Xiaogou Distinguished Member

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    I believe that John Cornforth uses this particular skin.
     

  10. laufer

    laufer Distinguished Member

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    I am bumping this thread just to bring to attention of those who might have missed it.
     

  11. PipersSon

    PipersSon Distinguished Member

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    Excellent thread and thanks for the bump.
     

  12. dddrees

    dddrees Distinguished Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    Scotch Grain Islays on the left.

    Highly doubt they are the 30 year kind however.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012

  13. meister

    meister Distinguished Member

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    Like this? http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Vintage-...?pt=US_Mens_Vintage_Shoes&hash=item3ccd8c0abe
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012

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