For the past 18 months or so we've been so focused on getting to the start line that none of us really had the headspace to think about what it would feel like when we got here. It's surreal, and having been so focused on what needed done each day in the run up to our launch, it's felt like we were stretching our brains in a new way - living in the moment with the big 'launch' milestone now in the past.
Time is everywhere in whisky making - it's a variable at almost every stage of the process. Fermentation times, distillation rate and of course the long, slow maturation that is so essential to the final flavour and celebrated within whisky. Or is it?
The magic works at its own pace, and whilst there are big milestones like 3 years old (when the spirit can legally be called whisky), the proliferation of common age statements seem to frame our experience of whisky in a very concrete way. When the truth is the change occurring is in fact, slow, constant, and remarkably irregular. The most fascinating resource was published by the OG Indie bottlers, and masters of maturation; Gordon & Macphail. Download their PDF here.
NO TIME FOR COCKTAILS? HERE'S A QUICK FIX
Here's a recipe that will take just seconds to prepare. We discovered it whilst we were rushing to shoot a couple of drinks before launch. We set out to capture whisky and soda and in our haste grabbed tonic by accident. 'It's only for pictures' we thought, so it didn't matter. Of course, we couldn't let decent whisky go to waste and what we discovered is that Whisky & Tonic is fully delicious. The sweetness/bitterness combo adds a whole extra layer to summer whisky drinking. The vibrancy of Experience N.2 lends itself to occasions requiring refreshment.
WOVEN WHISKY & TONIC
50ML EXPERIENCE N2.
150ML PREMIUM TONIC WATER
BUILD INGREDIENTS OVER ICE, STIR AND SERVE.
NEW CONCEPTS OF TIME
We were first introduced to the Japanese idea of constantly changing seasons when we read Dave Broom's incredible anthology on Japanese Whisky Making; 'The Way of Whisky'.
The daily perception of time in lockdown felt unfamiliar. For us, creating Woven was our main barometer for the passing of time. It has been interesting moving through the start up phases in a new, unfamiliar way. Our whisky making experience as blenders also involves time. Age is the single biggest factor in determining the price of what we source as ingredients. But once the samples hit the table, the only thing we focus on is flavour and the whiskies ability to contribute to the experience we're creating. A final period of time occurs in marrying, which gives our blends the time to fully form and come together.
The Way of Whisky is a beautiful book in every sense of the word. Dave Broom writes about whisky and its ability to connect with people, place and culture in a way that is human, poetic but also acutely intelligent. This book was a huge inspiration to us when thinking about blending and the sort of company we wanted Woven to be. We've realised it's currently hard to purchase, so if anyone in Edinburgh wants to borrow it for a read, get in touch as we've got more than one copy in the studio.
THE FINAL WORD
When our old friends Mitch and Daryl asked if they could use our studio to record a podcast episode, we said yes and planned to made ourselves scarce. When they suggested we chime in on the subject of whisky making in Leith, we had a surreal moment of realisation that we had, in fact, launched a whisky company in Leith and were now part of the long story of blending in the area.
Mitch said we'd have 90 seconds to talk about Woven, we ended up speaking for about 90 minutes. Suffice to say, we need to work on our delivery.