Charles C. Doig Esq designed 56 distilleries, and turned the pagoda of Far Eastern temples into an essential and iconic part of the whisky-making process.
When tasked with naming the finest invention of the nineteenth century, one might choose the telegraph, the telephone, the zip, the typewriter, the tin can, the toy balloon or even, perhaps, the steam locomotive.
But none comes close to the magnificence, simplicity and beauty of the Doig Ventilator, an elegant solution to the most troublesome problem of the age: inadequate peat smoke circulation in the malting process among the whisky distilleries of Scotland.
Mr Charles C. Doig Esq, the gentleman responsible for this extraordinary advancement, was the finest distillery architect of the day. He designed 56 distilleries in Scotland including Tamdhu, bringing to each a refined understanding of the process by which a whisky acquires its character.
Indeed, it would not be untrue to say that there was more demand for his services, in Speyside in the first instance and in the more discerning drawing rooms across the country in the second, than there was for the telegraph, the telephone, and the typewriter put together.
Doig’s secret? He took inspiration from the pagodas of the Far East and used the curved, pointed roof seen on temples across China and Japan as the basis for his design. Sitting atop the chimney of the malting house, the Doig Ventilator’s sloped roof is remarkably efficient as well as singularly beautiful. Not only does it increase the flow of air through the chimney, it also protects the grains below.
The father of the Doig Ventilator left a lasting legacy: you can still see pagodas atop whisky distilleries across the country. They remain as captivating symbols of advancement – of one man’s triumphant optimism and inventiveness.