THE MAKING OF COLLECTION #3
It does not feel like all that long ago we were putting collection two together. Putting new concepts into the world is fun, and it brings with it a certain rhythm. We go from not knowing the samples particularly well, to knowing them almost too well. By the time the liquid is released it feels like an old friend. Then we get a reaction from people. Sometimes the ones we were most excited about don’t connect in the way that we want them to. Others, build their own quiet roar. One thing is consistent though… we need more whisky! Collection two sold through in a few short months and almost as soon as we had started shipping we had to find time to turn our minds to the next whiskies. That felt big for us as we’d put so much of ourselves into collection 2. How can we need to be making more already!? A great problem to have, we’ll gratefully admit.
Our blending studio in Leith has gradually been filling up with samples. Our warehousing (out at Holyrood Distillery’s facility near Edinburgh Airport) is small, but now feels like a proper warehouse with a respectable number and variety of different casks lying peacefully there until we work out what to do with each liquid.
Pete spent a few days in the warehouse pulling samples then returned to the studio to make his selections. For the first time we’re having to choose what to blend with, rather than having everything together at once to make our section from. Again - progress.
This does make it harder however, as it adds a potential limitation to proceedings, and perhaps due to this - our ‘grid’ was huge for collection 3. A nice spread of ages and styles, cask finishes and interesting flavours. It’s an exciting time to be in the studio.
We’ve had more visitors the past few months than before; and one thing that keeps coming up is how we go about putting our whiskies together. How does the creative process work? So we thought we’d use this space to explain with a few examples that together make up Collection 3.
OUR CREATIVE SYSTEM
Having spent time in the labs of some of the talented drinks makers on the planet, we started this journey with a fair few insights on how the best in the business deploy a systematic approach to creativity in whisky (and other spirits) making.
There’s a perception that whisky blending is an intuitive practice - with whisky makers experiencing eureka like moments and flashes of inspiration that lead to the best combinations. For us, whilst it occasionally does happen - we required a system that ensured we had a structure to our practice that could produce results time and time again.
We have a live list of ideas between ourselves as founders - concepts for whiskies that have popped into mind, or impressions of the samples we’ve selected that have offered ‘jumping’ off points conceptually based on their flavour. An example of that is ‘freshly baked bread’ - it’s a tasting note that we found in a beautiful nutty speyside sample. Malty, grainy, but soft, comforting and slightly yeasty. An evocative tasting note congeries ideas, a feeling… a moment or emotion. That sample had a few notes scribbled onto the label and now we’ll see if the idea goes anywhere with more samples that find their way into the studio. It’s not a fully formed blend, but could be the start of one. Or, as is often the case we’ll be half way through the process of another project altogether and boom - this would be perfect for that. And it goes.
Click the links to discover the journal post for each whisky which goes into the concept behind each blend, whereas the technical information is found within the page the whisky has in the shop. Cheers!
Experience N.11 is called Peachy. It's an easy going, fruit forward, easy and breezy whisky built around a combination that emerged from nowhere in the lab.
Experience N.12 // Echoes is a lower tempo, slightly deeper experience that will appeal to the single malt drinkers that like things full, balanced and full of texture and depth.
Experience N.13 // Catalyst - is our most experimental, out there, freakishly daring whisky to date. We wanted to create the sensation that this whisky was still alive. Riffing off the ideas of fermentation and maturation as these dynamic crucibles of flavour creation in whisky we wanted to create a whisky that felt alive, as though the reaction was still occurring within it, and a profile that would stir a reaction within
Experience N.14 // Kaleidoscopic. A whisky that blends the technical side of blending with the human side of experiencing it. An absolute gem of a dram.