The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2016

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48  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2016 MILESTONES I f the Olympics had an event for identifying spirits only by their aromas, Whyte & Mackay's Master Blender, Richard Paterson, would win the gold. But then, he has already achieved that honor, for September 6, 2016, marked the golden anniversary of Paterson's 50 years in the spirits industry, where he has earned the nickname "The Nose." And as an indication that his sobriquet is justified, Paterson's nose has been insured by Lloyd's of London for $2.6 million. But Paterson's ascension to these aromatic heights started well before 1966, the year he was hired by A. Gillies & Company Whisky Blenders & Brokers in Glasgow as a junior office clerk. It was an auspicious beginning for a young man whose grandfather and father were also blenders. "It was my father who introduced me to the art of whisky blending at the tender age of eight years old," Paterson recalls. "He took me to his bonded warehouse in Glasgow, reached into his pocket, took out a bunch of keys and opened the warehouse doors. As he did, the smell of maturing whisky engulfed my nostrils, and seeing the silhouettes of all those casks stirred emotions in me that I remember to this day." Because A. Gillies & Company was a relatively small com- pany, it enabled Paterson to learn all facets of the business, including distilling, blending, bottling and exporting. And that, in turn, led him to Whyte & Mackay in 1970. "I joined as assistant to the blending department," Paterson says, "but my boss taught me other aspects as well. When he left in 1975, I became their Master Blender. It was the beginning of a journey of not only learning about the blending of whisky but, more importantly, seeing their different attributes and styles and learning about going from Sherry wood to American white oak and beyond." Indeed, it is his "beyond" reference that personifies Paterson as he travels the world dramatically extolling the wonders of The Dalmore and Jura whiskies. His latest ventures include The Dalmore Quintessence ($1,200), which carries no age statement, but after maturing in ex-bourbon barrels spent an additional five years individually aging in five different California red wine barrels: Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinot Noir. In addition, a just-released Dalmore 35 Year Old ($5,500) has been matured in three different woods: bourbon barrels, Matusalem oloroso Sherry butts and colheita Port pipes. To attend one of Paterson's presentations is to be simulta- neously informed and entertained. He doesn't just talk about American white oak, he invokes its Latin name, Quercus alba. He will dramatically fling a glass of whisky on the floor to make a point. He literally talks to the spirits, plunging his super-sensitive nose into the glass and asking, "Hello. How are you today?" Asked what the biggest change in the industry has been since he started his career, he pinpoints the current thirst for knowledge. "If I did a whisky presentation today with 12 Year Old Dalmore and 10 Year Old Jura they'd kill me," he says. "Mixologists and distributors are looking for different expres- sions with stories behind them. How long has it been in the cask? How long has it been finished? Consumers are the same way; they want to identify what makes the whisky so special." And "The Nose" knows the answers. The Man with the Golden Nose RICHARD PATERSON CELEBRATES HIS 50TH YEAR IN THE SPIRITS INDUSTRY story and photo by Richard Carleton Hacker Celebrating his 50 years in the whisky industry, Whyte & Mackay's Master Blender Richard Paterson is shown at the Universal Whisky Experience in Las Vegas with two of his creations: a replica of the 1907 blended Scotch that famous Irish explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton took with him on his voyage to the Antarctic, and The Dalmore Cigar Malt, the first single malt created especially for cigars smokers. C M Y CM MY CY CMY K

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