At the full-on, geek end of the spectrum, (where we often find ourselves, we might add,) there's a reliance on tasting notes to communicate the nature of a whisky. Add to that a plethora of terminology ranging from technical terms, labelling conventions and marketing idioms layer together to create a difficult category to get one's head around. We love a long list of tasting notes but often find ourselves lacking the vocabulary to articulate what we're tasting adequately. Metaphors are great, but so is gesticulating wildly like an absolute madman. Tasting notes are a neat and simple medium at best, but we were curious to explore and offer other alternatives. Early in the Woven journey, we were introduced to Dutch visual artist, creative coder and motion graphic designer Loïc Schwaller by our mutual friend, Daniel Freytag.
Together, we asked, what could taste look like if represented visually?
Loïc blends a love of data, coding with art and responded with a proprietary algorithm based program that allows us to create stunning, flowing moving images using the dataset created in the creation of each whisky expression. We had some ideas about synesthesia - and how flavour could be interpreted in non-traditional ways involving other senses, but Loïc’s approach fused art, culture and mathematics in a way that was alien to anything we’d heard about before.
The challenge was to find an authentic way of representing flavour visually that felt like art, but actually used data from the whisky creation process. It was generative, but not strictly interpretive. Loïc developed a platform, with numerous “modes” baked into the code. As users, we take the dataset generated from the whisky blending process and use it to shape the output of Loïc’s platform. Whilst there is an element of “creative control”, both in the choice of which data to use, it is remarkable for us to consider that essentially, we are using the objective results of the creative whisky-making process to generate something that feels abstract, creative and flowing.
The results are stunning, and adorn each whiskies landing page on the website. Whilst appearing abstract, we invite users to experience whisky visually, offering a sense of how this experience might feel, prior to understanding anything else about the liquid. The unlikely combination of data from the whisky-making process and Loïc’s generative art platform has yielded remarkable, flowing, hypnotic moving images that somehow feel human, natural and fluid. Whilst the interpretation of them remains subjective, we offer them as part of the overall experience, to either be engaged with, or ignored.