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A Tribute to Richard Paterson

A Tribute to Richard Paterson
May 19, 2017 Jackie Teo

I remembered many years ago when I was just starting to appreciate whiskies, I googled terms such as ‘how to enjoy whiskies’ and ‘how to appreciate whiskies’. Richard Paterson’s videos often appeared at the top of the search results. I clicked on the link, watched one video, followed by another, and another. He was doing the same repertoire, but in different settings. To me, Paterson’s showmanship is strangely infectious and very entertaining.

Most casual drinkers probably know him for the way that he flings the whisky across the floor, and the ‘hello, how are you, quite well thank you very much’ but most definitely, Paterson is much, much more than a flamboyant presenter. In fact, he is often regarded as one of the greatest whisky makers of his generation.

For one, he has defined the super luxury single malt category. His intimate knowledge of rare and exclusive casks led to the creation of highly-coveted (and highly-priced) expressions such as those from The Constellation Collection and The Dalmore 62.

Case in point: The Dalmore 62 set a record for the most expensive bottle of whisky sold in retail in 2011, when a buyer parted S$250,000 for it at DFS in Singapore’s Changi Airport.

In His Veins

You can say that Richard Paterson was born into a whisky family.

Back in 1933, Richard’s grandfather established W R Paterson Ltd in Glasgow and specialised in Blending, Bottling and Broking. His bond, situated in the city’s Stockwell Place, was later taken over by Richard’s father in 1956.

Growing up in the business would have inevitably influenced his outlook and interest in whiskies. 10 years later, he set out on his own and joined A Gillies & Company, Whisky Blenders & Brokers, as a General Production Assistant. In the four years that he was there, he picked up the skills of the trade such as overseeing the stock records, distillation and blending.

He didn’t stop at just whiskies. During the next six years he learned more about wine and spirits through The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, specialising in Bordeaux, Champagne, California, Cognac and Rum. He would have probably used this knowledge for cask-finishing whiskies, a production process he is known for helping to pioneer.

In 1970 he joined Whyte & Mackay Distillers and within five years he became their Master Blender. At only 26 year old, Paterson was reputed at that time to be Scotland’s youngest. He has held the position ever since, overseeing the production of the brands under the company’s portfolio.

For his dedication to whisky, Paterson has been awarded The Spirit of Scotland Trophy at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 1994 and was named Whisky Magazine Whisky Ambassador of the Year in 2011. At the 2013 World Whisky Awards, he was recognised by Whisky Magazine with an Icons of Whisky Lifetime Achievement Award and entered into the magazine’s Hall of Fame 

50 Years to the Good

Paterson is marking his 50th anniversary with a world tour and Singapore will be one of the stops. Apart from hosting dinners, masterclasses and tasting sessions, Paterson will also be presenting The Dalmore 50, which he created in celebration of his jubilee.

The expression is a luxurious showcase of Paterson’s expertise. The whisky has been matured in American white oak, Matusalem oloroso sherry casks from Gonzalez Byass Bodega and port Colheita pipes from the Douro region of Portugal, before being finished for 50 days in champagne casks from Domaine Henri Giraud.

Journey of The Dalmore 50

1966: The Dalmore new make spirit began its journey in American white oak exBourbon casks

2003: The maturing whisky is transferred to Matusalem oloroso sherry casks

2012: The whisky is transferred to Port Colheita pipes

2016: In January of 2016, the spirit was transferred to Bourbon barrels as it reached its desired taste profile, prior to finessing

November 2016: The whisky was finessed in Domaine Henri Giraud Champagne casks for 50 days before bottling

The exclusivity of Domaine Henri Giraud makes this expression rather unique.

Domaine Henri Giraud family estate produces some of the finest champagnes in the world and it is one of the only champagne houses to still mature their wines in casks. The casks selected have a unique intensity and aromatic complexity, giving Paterson the final flourish of wood needed to create this exceptional expression.

The decanter is created by artisans from French crystal house Baccarat and it is held within a presentation case designed and crafted by the furniture makers at LINLEY.

Finally, each decanter will be adorned with a solid silver stag, created by silversmiths Hamilton & Inches, holder of The Royal Warrant.

Indeed, The Dalmore 50 is a very fitting tribute to Paterson’s 50.


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