The concept of N.3 came from us receiving a heavily sherried Speyside single malt that reminded us of an old bottling of Vat 69 (an original Leith blend) that we had sampled during the ‘research’ period when starting Woven.
The malt was this over-the-top, bold, tannic, spicy, monster that had everything shouting at the same time. A real brute of a Speysider! We decided our job as blenders was to mediate, de-escalate things a bit and calm things down.
In the end, we made a ‘super grain’ whisky with a very old Highland grain and young Lowland which gave brightness and depth, and with the malt… wow.
It was stunning. We also added a touch of Islay malt which acted as a rope bridge between the grain up-notes and the malt base-tones.
Absolutely delighted with the blend, we decided to marry in an ex Highland single malt cask to add texture and mouthfeel. When we drew a sample at c.30 days, we were surprised to find that the balance of the whisky had shifted from spice and juicy fruit, towards wood and minerality with the spice and fruit moving towards the back of the pallet.
We decided to let the whisky marry for an extended period in the same cask, allowing the complex flavours to mellow and fall into place. We also borrowed a technique from Cognac production where we gradually reduced the ABV over a period of time to bottling strength to allow the subtleties of flavour and texture to come to the forefront of this whisky.
The results for us is in a nutshell... "old things" - the smell of an antique bookshop, old people (ha!) the taste of a pub that’s long closed down. But also we think some of those whiskies that people lament about from the "golden age of blends" when blends contained banging malts because there wasn't a single malt market for it. The past and present in one sip.