EXPERIENCE.N14 // KALEIDOSCOPIC
It now seems like a tradition that every collection Pete produces a blend that defies description. As we near the end of the blending process for each collection Pete starts describing them, giving them more fleshed out personalities, even nick names before we complete the concept around the liquid. But there’s always one he’s a little coy about, and in Collection #3 it was this one - Experience N.14.
“Just taste it” he said. And so we did. What we found was that Experience N.14 is a dazzling hall of mirrors, fleeting impressions of flavours that have evolved into something different before the word has even formed in your mind. It draws you in, asks you to focus and then gives you something on the periphery that puts you somewhere different altogether. A few sips in and you think you’re getting the hang of it - but realise it’s a game, a mysterious, magical dance between whisky maker, whisky and drinker, colour and texture, flavour and experience, beginning, middle and end.
We’re not really sure where the idea of Kaleidoscopes came from, but it provided the perfect metaphor for which we could discuss this whisky. Originally conceived as a toy - the mechanics of the kaleidoscope are incredible, conceived by a mathematician and master of geometry. Philosophically, Kaleidoscopes are fascinating and what is real, perceived or imagined is all thrown together - the wondrous response of the user perhaps the result of some metaphysical wonder taking place.
It felt apt then, that in the modern day with all our understanding of whiskies, their flavour profiles and the relationship between what we taste and what we think that this whisky bear the name Kaleidoscopic. It was full of surprises, layers, contradictions, evolving patterns. So complex and in some ways perplexing it was that the only way we could really make sense of it was to stop interrogating our taste buds and simply approach it with an open mindset - where we were to simply let it happen to us and see where we ended up. Then we started just enjoying this whisky as the fun that it is (and maybe all whisky is) meant to be.
It’s a big no no in the promotion of alcohol to reference psychedelic experiences, or altered states of mind in relation to the consumption of alcohol, so we will steer very, very clear of any connotations that might fall fowl of the Portman Group’s guidelines. Instead, we’ll talk about a brilliant idea we found whilst researching the word that is actually much richer in terms of it’s ability to sum up why we felt the word was so appropriate for the experience we were having.
In Greek, a ‘Kaleidoscope Mind’ means an observer of beautiful forms. We stumbled upon a medium article by Dibyendu De, a mindfulness teacher who unpacked the idea of the Kaleidoscope mind as a nimble, playful mind that is open and able to identify and form new patterns, relationships and connections between abstract concepts - that can jump effortlessly between general and detailed information and a mind that is so flexible it finds opportunity within challenges, and live in a way that is free from ‘the pains arising out of rigid attachment to concepts, theories, notions and beliefs?’
We love thinking about this concept. And as is so often the way when we read abstract thoughts - we frame them within the world of whisky making. (Funnily enough we often do the opposite by framing our whisky making in the world of abstract concepts!) - but now, thanks to this whisky we aspire to live (at least in Whisky terms) with a kaleidoscopic mind - it sounds like a great way in which to see the world.