Celebrity Night – with Richard Paterson
Ok so Richard might not be the sort of guy who you see in Hello Magazine, but to us whisky enthusiasts he is a real celebrity. Richard is the Master Blender for Whyte and MacKay, which makes him not only responsible for the Whyte and MacKay range of blended Scotch Whisky, but also the Single Malt Scotch whiskies from Dalmore and Isle of Jura Distilleries. The Master Blenders role is one of the most important jobs in the whisky industry; Richard has held this post since the tender age of 26. He has a unique ability to Nose whisky – in fact he has the nickname “The Nose” which I think sums up this man. In an industry where we all use our noses to work with and enjoy our whisky, Richard has been given the name “The Nose” by his contemporaries.
It very important to remember two things about Richard :
1) If you drink your whisky too quickly, he’ll punch you.
2) If you hold your whisky glass the wrong way, he’ll break your fingers.
The Whiskies Tasted
Whyte & MacKay – 13 years old
An excellent example of the whisky blenders art. A gentle yet rich blend. The whiskies are blended together then left to marry for a whole year before bottling.
There is only the one distillery on the isle of Jura, but they make two different spirits, a peaty smoky one and a non-peaty one. The Superstition is of the peaty variety. There is no age statement on the bottle but they use whisky between 13 and 21 years old, which gives this single malt a deep complex flavour as the wood influences and the peaty barley influences merge together.
This is one of the lighter style Jura single malts and it’s one of our favourites. 15,16, 17 years old is my favourite ages for whisky, rounded with plenty of flavours from the wood yet still with some edge. This elegant single malt has a lot of liquorice and marzipan flavours.
The Dalmore is an iconic whisky, well known for its Stags head motif. The emblem is the badge of Clan Mackenzie and was earned by the original Makenzie – Colin Fitzgerald who while out hunting with King Alexzander III, in 1263, saved the King from being gouged by a stag so the King allowed Colin to use the Stags head on his coat of arms. The Dalmore Distillery was founded by a Macenzie. The 15 years old spends 12 years maturing in American white oak ex-bourbon casks, then a three year finish in three different sherry woods – Amoroso, Apostoles and Matusalem Oloroso. Matusalem Oloroso Sherry spends 30 years maturing that’s makes the oak casks just about perfect for maturing whisky. The 15 is a robust, rich Christmas pudding kind of a Dram – again a favourite age of mine.
Dalmore – King Alexander III
Named after the King that owed his life to Colin Fitzgerald. This expression uses six specially selected casks – ex-bourbon casks, Matusalem oloroso sherry wood, Madeira barrels, Marsala casks, port pipes and Cabernet Sauvignon wine barriques. Each cask gives its own flavour notes, the aged aromatic oloroso butts and Madeira drums provide red berry fruits, fresh flowers and hints of passion fruit, whilst the bourbon barrels deliver citrus zest, vanilla pod, créme caramel and crushed almonds. Rich Port and Marsala woods add hints of sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, enhanced with red fruits from vintage Cabernet Sauvignon barriques.
When Ernest Shackleton led his Antarctic Expedition in 1907 he took with him 46 cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky. The whisky had been distilled at Glen Mhor Distillery situated in Inverness during the closing years of the ninetieth century. In February 2007 three crates of this long lost whisky were discovered by a team from the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage, underneath Shackleton’s Hut. Some of the whisky was flown back to Scotland where Richard analysed and re-created this extraordinary spirit. We got to try the recreated spirit which is technically a blended malt, this is the taste of the whisky which Glen Mhor was making in the Ninetieth Century. A lot lighter than expected, bottled at 47.4%, fruity and rich, a nice warming finish – you need that in the Antarctic. Whyte and MacKay donate £5 to Antarctic Heritage Trust from every bottle sold.
Richard is one of the most Charismatic guest speakers we have ever had. If you get the chance to see him, take it. All who attended extend their heartfelt thanks to Richard.