Experience 11 was a whisky that came together on the blending table through the deployment of a systematic approach toward creativity. It might not sound all that inspiring but give us a moment to explain: As part of us getting to know the samples we’ve got to play with we assemble a large, grid like tasting matrix that crudely sets up combinations to be systematically worked through. Whilst there are ‘eureka moment’ flashes of inspiration we’d be kidding ourselves (and you) if we said that that is how every interesting flavour combination is arrived at. What we found, was that by giving ourselves a framework in which to put whiskies through their paces we were constantly surprised at how exciting the results were. This system that we’ve created to compliment the human intuition and ‘sparky’ side of blending we actually consider a form of curiosity. It’s a creative safety net ensuring that we don’t miss any opportunities to create something spectacular with the samples we have that nobody had thought of. It protects us against biases toward ‘what should work’, age, origin or cask type and instead evens the playing field for our samples allowing us to asses them purely on their sensorial merits.
This whisky is a one of the fruits of this system.
The thing about regions and the sub categories within whisky making is that they put barriers where often none should exist.
Over 60% of this blend is grain whisky. Two grain whiskies of similar flavour profile, both within an hours drive from Glasgow. Yet one is from a distillery classed as a Highland Distillery and the other a lowland. Even more; they were produced two and a half decades apart. Both these factors shouldn’t dictate how we perceive the liquids - but of course they do, which is essentially why we use this system to help us overcome our biases. We actually considered just bottling that combination, such was its success; The combination yielded an explosion of tropical tinned fruit flavours. Melon, Lychee, pineapple - the dynamic between similarly profiled young and old samples creating a sort of yoyo on the palate which was quite a sensation to behold. But we’re blenders so the next day found ourselves road testing other combinations that would preserve the brightness of the blend, but create a more ‘rounded’ sensation - turning two bright colours into a gradient between the two that was more pleasing to the palate. We reached for unseated whiskies; light malts that boasted fruit forward profiles. The rarely talked about Glentauchers Distillery, the tiny Glasgow Distillery and an un-peated malt from Loch Lomond Distillery. The combination we created of these three distilleries was rich in dried fruits - Glasgow’s signature tropical fruit notes driving the conversation despite being one of the smaller inclusions. The difficulty in balancing this blend was in getting the balance between bright ‘summer’ fruit flavour and a desired level of underlying complexity - we found a few of our versions descended into more heavy tannin flavours than we liked. Lovely though they were - it just wasn’t the experience we were trying to create with this blend.
Pete settled on a final formulation that he felt preserved the excitement of the initial combination that was the cornerstone of the blend, but through skilful use of ‘bright’ single malt components he’s managed to create a richer, rounded experience that in some ways replicates the sheer spectrum of flavours you get in the experience of a singular plump, ripe fresh fruit.
The name peachy! had been scribbled on a sample bottle of the ‘double grain’ combination that started the journey. Since it both summed up the flavour realm and the mood that the blend seemed to contain we decided that we shouldn’t try to improve on it. Neat - This is reminiscent of carefree summer adventures, outdoor picnics and ripe tropical fruits. It also makes a brilliant Highball, and if you’re feeling really naughty you could drop in a little traditional style lemonade for something truly refreshing.