Whisky Advocate

Guest Blogger: Richard Paterson, master blender

July 31st, 2009

Richard Paterson is the master blender for Whyte & Mackay, which includes the Dalmore and Jura single malts. He’s also a great ambassador for the entire Scotch whisky industry. He’s our guest blogger for July (just sneaking in at the last minute). As you will discover by his blog, he also has a great sense of humor. Thanks Richard! (Hey, and maybe next time you can tell us a little more about your new line of whiskies?)

r-patterson-spain-whytemackay024America and whisky – or scotch whisky – as you all seem to have such strange, perverse ways of avoiding calling whisky whisky – but one thing is for sure, you are certainly taking to liking it!

You my have tried to ban it at one point but fortunately you saw sense over that one. And now, you love the great water of life.

But Dear God, how many of you are determined to ruin it with ice? 
Wherever I looked, ice in this, ice in that, ice in ice.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted you’re drinking whisky – I’m even more delighted when it’s Jura, Dalmore or Whyte and Mackay – but you wouldn’t take a beautiful woman out to dinner and tell her to hide her face, you wouldn’t take a hunky strong man out and tell him to hide his muscles, so why ruin the beauty of whisky with ice?

To that end, I’ve been on a US tour this week, stopping off in New York, Chicago, Dallas and Miami, telling people via the internet (you can now find me on a blog, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) where to meet me and talking about whisky.

And it’s been fantastic. I’ve met with some really interesting people and you can see some video and picture highlights on my facebook site. 
Having said that, it’s encouraging how the internet – including John’s sites – are helping people to not only enjoy whisky but develop their appreciation. There are so many people out there who, in the past, would have tried one whisky, not liked it and thrown in the towel.

Now, the internet has changed all that. Now people have a vast range of whisky ambassadors out there and they know that not only are there wide ranges of whiskies, all with different personalities and flavours and that there is a whisky out there for most people.

And even if you aren’t a fan of whisky straight, there are – loath as  
I am to say it – other ways to drink it, including cocktails (and you can see my reaction to what the Best Barman in the World did with my whiskies on the Jura site at )

But while America may be opening its eyes up to whiskies, that’s not to say that it’s all perfect. I mean, here you are, learning what goes well with each whisky, what the best chocolates and coffees are to help bring out the flavours, but can you get a good cigar to go with the whisky? Can you heck.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you have poor cigars. You have some fantastic cigars – you just aren’t allowed to smoke them anywhere. 
It’s Land of the Free until you want to enjoy a cigar and a whisky – and you can’t.

But I’ve enjoyed myself so much so that I want to announce here that I’ll be back in November for visits to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale, so let’s all try and meet up – just leave the ice at home and let’s find a place to enjoy cigars!
Richard Online Links:

38 Responses to “Guest Blogger: Richard Paterson, master blender”

  1. Tim F says:

    How strange – I was just bloggging about RP’s sudden cyber-ubiquity yesterday and here he is popping up on Malt Advocate!

    Does this man never sleep?

  2. Richard is a very kind man – I had a problem with a Jura 10yo and he even called me personally to let me know that I shouldn’t worry about it. Since I love his “works” (I like almost all the whiskies he supervises) talking to him on the phone was great! I don’t think there are many master blenders out there sharing that kind of dedication.

  3. bgulien says:

    I have the utmost respect for Mr. Paterson, but when he mentions the ruining of whisky by the use of ice, I would like to ask, why distilleries/blenders are ruining the whisky with spirit caramel and/or chill filtering.
    I find unnatural corporate trickery with coloring more serious then the use of a piece of ice.

  4. Harvey Fry says:

    i’m a verizon CROWD behind bgulien!

    no question, the Richard Patersons & Willie Tates are way out in front of the feel good
    org-reps. both put on a great show & are a
    lot of fun to be around. but when it comes
    to serious conversation about organizations & their missions, i’ll take Arran’s Douglas Davidson & Benriach’s Alistair Walker every
    time. + Ed Khol of Signatory is even better
    at answering questions than his boss. when i attend these sessions i want information, not some sort-a psychic help for whatever’s otherwise missing in my life. if i’m after a party, i’ll throw it myself.

    John, we understand you don’t have a lot of control over what these guys are about, but
    many of us’d love it if you could be on the lookout for a guest blogger who comes at us straight up? maybe just tell the guy we’re
    a li’l’something more’n the herd a goats he usually tends to. & for our attention he’d
    best bring a bag of tricks with just a few
    wee things we don’t already know^

  5. John Hansell says:

    Thomas, yes, Richard is a kind and caring soul. I can cite many examples, but will not go into this now. I don’t know how he keeps up with crazy schedule.

    Harvey, I hear ya. But before I address your comment, I think we should be very appreciative that we get guest bloggers with the stature and reputation of people like Richard Paterson, John Glaser, Willie Tait, Jim Rutledge, etc. These guys are very busy. What other blog has guest bloggers like this? I don’t know of any.

    So, having said this, when a distillery manager, master blender, etc., agrees to guest blog, I recommend a topic or two that I think my blog readers would like read about. But, what they send me is their decision. I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

    I asked, and was hoping, that Richard might enlighten us with information on his new line of Dalmore whiskies just getting into circulation here in the U.S. (Which I thing would be good for the brand, too.) But, I think he was so busy on his US tour this past week , that he didn’t have time for that, and would rather speak about his experiences of the week.

    Was there a little PR spin there? Sure. They’re putting Richard into new media big time. And would I like to see him delve into his whiskies a little more next time? You bet.

    But having said this, I did find his posting entertaining. And it saved everyone from having to read about me droning on about something. I’m not nearly as funny as he is.

    I’m sure we’ll get Richard back again, and we’ll get another opportunity to hear what he has to say. That is, if we don’t scare him away…

  6. Harvey Fry says:

    had he even touched on the new Dalmores i’d
    have been happy as a pig in a bog.

    though i’d hate to think serious scrutiny’d
    scare a pro off his mark, my first question
    (for him) is anything but a softball: why o
    why o why can’t they make even a token move
    toward the NEW standard= bottled at 46.0% &
    UNCHILLFILTERED? at least with Jura, their
    Elements & (just released) Mountains series
    are up there. for 100 pounds or more a unit
    of just 15 year old whisky (a li’l’ more or less with the Elements) even this makes one wonder if they have a clue in the value for money department? even die-hard collectors
    like me are simply going to ignore each and
    every one of the new Dalmores at the (let’s
    just be blunt about it) INADEQUATE & MEASLY
    bottling strength of 40.0% ABV. if someone
    asks where they are, i will NOT hesitate to
    tell them the sad sad story of a management
    left behind by poor attention to a changing
    market. more a statement than a question is
    it? well, i can’t even say i’m sorry. get
    right to it, bgulien has it down= corporate
    sloth, way out of date stupid shenanigans &
    downright dishonesty will no longer get any more of my money’n th’litte has to be spent
    for others’ pleasure. from now on, if they want my bucks they had best pay a whole lot better attention^

  7. Harvey Fry says:

    & John, don’t underestimate yourself= what
    you don’t have in the comic department you
    more than make up for in all the ones that
    count for a lot more. i for one’d rather
    listen to well positioned information on a
    thing or two of interest than any good ol’
    boy’s ramblings about whatever coochiecoos
    he found curious. i’ll take your substance
    over his ego, any/all days.

  8. Craig McGill says:

    Harvey, Richard has been battling an insane schedule recently – not helped by him now delving into online and spending time to do it right – which is why he never had the chance to do as much as he would have liked for John. He’s already offered to be a guest blogger againin the future and if you look at his own site at you’ll see he has a section for asking him questions – why don’t you put your points to him there?

  9. John Hansell says:

    Harvey, I think you’re being a little harsh on Richard here. First, like I said above, I gave him a deadline until the end of the month to complete his blog. He got too booked up this past week (more than he expected)to spend more time on it. Or, as Craig described it, an “insane” schedule is probably a better way to describe his week. I saw his schedule and don’t envy him.

    And while I would have liked to see the new line at 46% ABV, I still enjoy the whiskies at their current strength and I think Richard did a great job with their flavor profile given the parameters in which he had to work. (I think the new 12 y/o is actually better than the previous one.)

    And where is this dishonesty you speak of? I’m not seeing it. Hey, Dalmore just came out with a new line of whiskies. For the most part, they are really good (ABV nothwithstanding). Can we at least celebrate the good equally with the things we wish they had done differently?

    And finally, regarding your comment about this being some sort of ego trip for Richard. I think you are way out of line here. Here is a man who works harder than anyone I know, and does a better job of it than anyone I know. On top of this, he is very caring and conscientious. When I think of Richard, ego doesn’t even factor in. He is a great ambassador for the industry. He’s out trekking across the globe because it’s his job, he’s very devoted to his job, and he’s really good at it–not because he’s feeding his ego. If you knew Richard more than casually, you would know this is the case.

    All my guest bloggers participate in the thread and are happy to address any questions raised. So, like I said before above, let’s not scare the man away, okay?(Although, maybe it’s already too late for that, Harvey.) You have already posted up three comments. Before posting up any more, give Richard a chance to respond.

  10. Josh_Bacarolle says:

    Hi John,

    I noticed a post a little while back about how you trust us in the sense that you aren’t moderating/censoring blog posts any longer. I think this an interesting experiment, and I’m sure has added a different flavor and some interesting new tensions to the mix. I think this exchange between you and Harvey is a case-in-point.

    Harvey is making some very valid points about Richard’s posts, albeit in a pretty harsh manner.

    I noticed that you are conceding to some of his points, and agreed with Harvey that you would’ve liked to see more of a serious focus on a single-malt related issue, such as the new Dalmore whiskies.

    You also disagree with Harvey on some points, such as Richard Paterson’s personality and/or integrity, or how entertaining the post was…

    But all-in-all I think this is a great exercise in free speech and I’m really glad that you aren’t censoring posts.

    The internet has given us a medium where the audience/consumer can speak directly to major figures and producers. Sometimes it isn’t pretty, but it sure makes for a more dynamic experience than a one-way street Public Relations stream.

    And here’s my opinion: I was entertained by parts of Richard’s post, and I think he’s a very talented individual that’s passionate and commited to the industry. That being said, I think he simply thought he was speaking to a different audience, an audience that he would normally speak to on his tours, an audience of people that aren’t as die-hard and passionate as those on the Malt Advocate blog.

  11. James says:

    I am a bar manager in Miami and i just met Mr Paterson last week. Funny enough i googled his name and i found this page. Not sure i understant the entire reasons for the harsh comments…

    I can tell you that Mr.Paterson is a very talented spokesperson for the new Dalmore range of malts. I enjoyed his presentation/explanation of the brand new expressions. He gave us lots of good information and i didnt think he showed any signs of having an ego…based on this first (an probably only opportunity to talk to him!) he gave me the impression of being a great gentleman.

    By the way…my favorite Dalmore tried during our tasting was the King Alexander. I though it had a very interesting combination of flavors. Very interesting how they experiment with all the types of wood. The one i liked the least was the Dalmrore Reserve.

    James “the Bar Man”

  12. sam k says:

    I appreciate the fact that you don’t filter the postings here, John (and it would be easy and virtually invisible to do so). I have been party to blogs where my thoughts have been withheld by the administrator due to the potential for offense, and though I both agree and disagree with some of the issues Harvey has brought to the table, I also think that Richard needs to be given the courtesy of a response before we move ahead.

    Thanks for this truly open forum.

  13. Harvey Fry says:

    a six pack of Verizon crowds behind Josh_B!

    John, at the risk of irritating you further,
    i’m gonna hope the end of the month you had in mind was July & try to move the level of
    this tempest down a notch or 2. i may not be all that good at backing up, but please hear me out.

    1st, i did not intend any of what i said as
    a personal attack on Richard. if you go to (as Craig McGill
    suggested) & watch the videos, read some of
    the softball questions & answers featured +
    check out the overall ambience of the thing,
    i honestly do not see how it can escape you
    (or any other serious/knowledgeable whisky
    person) that this is a msterful excercise in
    lowest common denominator PR very carefully
    designed to attract & hold a very base line
    sort of customer. the last thing they want
    is to attract attention to any of the things
    their overall approach/philosophy might just
    come up even a smidgen short on. one of the
    very best ways to mesmerize your mark until
    you’ve filled him with all the good stuff he
    needs to be reeled in is quite simply to sit
    him down in front of a fantastic performer &
    let the personal magnetism operate. Richard
    has way more than his share of such talent
    & he’s honed the skills over a lifetime. he
    is plain perfect for his job & i’m way out in front celebrating any part of it that’s good for whisk(e)y. i run out this string
    this way ’cause, whether you like it or not,
    these kinds of personality traits’re at the
    very heart of EGO. without a fair amount of EGO, chutzpah, cajones, in-your-face-up-
    and-at-’em, whatever you wanna call it, not a lot gets sold. all of us who try to get
    others to do our bidding have & use it every
    day of out lives. me, you, Richard & maybe
    even the jumpy-jack-rabbits we rode in on^ as i hoped then & now to make clear, it’s
    not what Richard said i have a problem with.
    IT’S WHAT HE DIDN’T SAY. like they say, if you can’t prove a negative, you can’t argue with it &, if your target is so skilled at walking between the raindrops you can’t get close enough to ask the question(s), how’re you gonna…..

    2nd, as i think Josh understood, what i’m about is trying to get a Byzantine & often
    counterintuitive industry, so completely
    rooted in a past that has changed/continues to change faster than they can make th’next
    batch, to recognize that it is WE O WE O WE
    who are way out in front…in their wildest
    dreams they couldn’t have imagined the boom
    that brought people like me into the fold.
    & we, the obsessive new drinker/collectors, the information age peeps who have so much
    more data at their very fingertips, that’ll do whatever it takes to learn & go as far
    as that knowledge’ll take ’em + as fast as it’s humanly possible. we want more & more
    ’cause we know we can have it + we’re not
    likely to be slowed down by the traditions &
    icons of past practice. & IT IS HAPPENING!
    when i first got going (over here) late in the last century, it was please, can we have
    just a wee more whisky in our water. if you got 43.% you were lucky &, until the
    Mitchells invaded with Cadenhead’s, single
    cask or other cask strength expressions did not exist. as more of us discovered how
    much better undamaged whisky could be, we
    yelled so long & so loud that, in less than a decade, unchillfilered & diluted to no
    less than 46.% HAS COME TO BE THE STANDARD
    way single malt whisky is offered. well,
    John, we don’t want to let it slide & when
    a major distillery DROPS THE ABV ON THEIR
    MAIN EXPRESSIONS (the Cigar Malt + the 12
    & 21 year olds in ALL bottlings for this market in this century were 43.%) FROM a
    (presently) barely acceptable 43.% to an
    TO TAKE A STAND. beyond that, don’t you
    think it’s high time the dumb & completely
    unfounded concerns about changes that may
    occur under certain weather conditions in the color of the stuff are sent riding straigh off into the sunset in the very
    leaky boats they sailed in on?

    OK, i’m a passionate coochiecoo & i don’t
    mind screaming. if some of these tricky
    moves they try & slip by us’re not exactly DOWNRIGHT DISHONEST, they’re close enough
    to be called out in the strongest terms.
    i’m the kind of collector that actually
    trys to keep up (buy the bottles & keep at
    least one on the self right beside the previous one & the one before that, etc.) with as many of the seemingly endless different expression/packaging changes they
    come out with. BUT NO MORE FOR DALMORE.

    anyway, if i was too strident for you, i’m
    sorry. i love having these guys on as much as you do. not because they’re icons & big
    time authorities, but because I can ask
    questions & learn things. SO, i ask you
    in all sincerity, John, if they’re gonna be
    evasive or just plain not tuned in to our
    concerns, is it really such a big loss that
    they stick to the ewnviroments they’re more
    comfortable in & let us figure things out with or without their help? indeed, if
    a little stress really scares ’em off, i’m
    inclined to believe they’re soon gonna have
    to be looking for some other line of work.

    like Josh says, it may not be all that
    pretty, but your genius is providing us a
    space where we can all grow & thrive^

    again, please don’t be angry with me= i’m
    not nearly as mean as i sometimes sound.
    &, as always, thankyou for your patience &,
    most of all, for listening to our sometimes rambling rants & giving us straight-up &
    honest feedback^

  14. Harvey, it is Richards job to create (compose) single malts and blends within the boundaries of the White & Mackay range, which in my opinion is far less narrow than many “whisky writers” claim (I don’t mean you, John!).

    Also, Richard has made it his job to promote whisky – scotch in general as well as his own creations. No one in their right mind would put up with that kind of schedule and be so dedicated unless he really loved what he is fighting for.

    I think RP does both of those aspects with a lot of grace, good attitude and pretty funny humor. Yes, some of what he does is just what any good employee or sales rep would do, but who needs to throw the first stone? I would do the same thing (being loyal to my employer) and I don’t believe this is equal to not telling the truth (or even lying) – by far.

  15. Harvey Fry says:

    Thomas, i don’t understand why so many of
    you think i’m after Richard= i thought i
    made it clear i think he’s perfect for his job. my problem is with Whyte & Mackay’s
    obviously intentional decisions (& those of
    other byzantine conglomerates) to take us
    back to a time when considerations of the
    consumer’s desires had very little influence
    over eventual outcomes. we’ve fought hard for the few upgrades we’ve managed to wrest
    from them &, believe me, if we don’t let ’em
    know we’ll keep at it, their boots’ll do a
    very good Nancy Sinatra walk all over us.
    to the extent that Richard is the instrument
    of corporate policy he is ALSO in the way of
    our interests. &, to be fair, if he, as he
    did (for whatever reason) here manages to
    ignore or evade our questions, he is also
    fair game. &, finally, don’t you think he’s
    paid more than enough to address legitimate
    consumer concerns?

  16. Neil Fusillo says:

    Funny post from Richard; although, I have to say, in our defence, I’ve not met a serious American scotch drinker who adds ice to his scotch. I know it’s done. I’ve just never met anyone who does.

    And another thing… how can one complain about ice when one is willing to smoke a cigar and drink whisky simultaneously. I promise, if anything will confound the taste of scotch, it will not be the ice. It will be the cigar. And it may put me in the minority camp, but I’m quite happy not to smell someone else’s cigar while I’m trying to taste my whisky. There’s where the freedom comes in. You’re free to enjoy your cigar where it won’t bother someone else’s enjoyment… i.e. elsewhere.

    That said, keep up the excellent work, Richard! Jura Superstition still ranks up as one of my absolute favourite whiskies on the shelf.

    And thanks for keeping the guest bloggers coming, John. I know it can’t be easy wrangling schedules with these busy people, and yet, with all the other stuff you do, you still seem to find the time.

  17. Serge says:

    I totally agree with Neil. I do enjoy cigars and I do enjoy whisky but I think they deeply change each other when enjoyed simultaneously. No big deal when just ‘dramming’ but a huge problem if you want to properly assess your whisky – or cigar. Having said that, there are very nice combos but it’s not always easy to find good balance between both.

  18. Goodness, there’s been a bit of activity here! Let’s address a few points:

    SERGE: Completely right on the whisky and cigars but – as with a good coffee or chocolate – there are ones which compliment each other and the trick is in finding them. But the fun is in the exploration too.

    JOHN: Thanks for having me here and if you’ll have me back later in the year – October? November? – then we’ll definitely do a lot more and widen out the chat.

    JAMES: Was great to meet you (and everyone else on the US trip) – don’t be a stranger.

    JOSH: Indeed, God bless free speech (as long as you are freely praising whisky). Seriously, John runs a good shop here and while it may take some of us – myself included – a while to accept the bluntness of what people say online, if people are saying it with conviction and passion then it’s great that they can be so involved.

    THOMAS: Thanks for the kind words! Keep up the good work with the band A Better Sun. Will use at least one track in a podcast.

    EVERYONE: Harvey and others asked a few questions about the whiskies and that’s fair enough. Let’s play fair though, I have always been a passionate whisky advocate – all too often I have told people about good non-W&M brands as often as I have told people about excellent W&M brands – and to me it’s important that we are drinking whisky. I’ve always joked that it’s more important that we drink Whyte and Mackay but that’s because I believe between the ranges and expressions – from the Special to Jura to Dalmore and the Rare and Prestige lines – we make fantastic whisky.

    Now as to the issue of chill-filtering, adding caramel and so on…The word we are looking for here in this matter is CONFIDENCE if we didnt have a standard colour in the whisky and with the variations in the cask you would have different colours coming through in the whisky and therefore people would think you had changed what was in the whisky.

    Now studies have been carried out and it shows that no matter what you said to people, they would think it had changed because it looks different and that causes a riot. Even if they bought the same whisky two weeks in a row – if the colour has changed then they believe that the content has changed and this applies to people from all backgrounds and levels of whisky expertise – it’s as much a psychological issue as anything.

    So, it’s there for confidence to the consumer and it applies to blends, single malts and expensive whiskies.

    Howerver when it comes to the more expensive whiskies as in the Dalmore, they are their natural colour. Also we have a number of whiskies that we dont chillfilter.

    To summarise: chillfiltering takes nothing out but the fatty oils that cause the clouds in whiskies – numerous studies have shown this. That’s why it is done. Again, it is about the consumer and CONFIDENCE.

    The “issue” (for Harvey anyway) around the 40% ABV… studies have shown that people drink their whisky straight at 40% and if they were to drink anything higher they would be aneasthetising their tounge with the stronger ABV. That’s the last thing we want to do to consumers.

    40% has been proven to be the ideal strength but we do sell 45%, 46%, but we always recommend having a little water with these for the aforementioned reason – and for taste.

    And Harvey? This is a very competitive market, you think I would have lasted more than 40 years in the industry by being a showman or psychic? You want the serious chat as well? That’s in there. Perhaps you should come along to one of my sessions before judging.

    But also bear in mind, just now with online we’re trying to reach a huge number of people – here, at the blog, facebook, Twitter and so on – and I’ve tried to avoid putting people off by being too indepth – but that’s why I have the Ask Richard part of my blog – and if John has me back here, I’m sure we can go into more depth too.

    Anyway, I’ve gone on a bit and I need to get some things sorted before taking a break for a couple of weeks so thanks for having me, hope to be back soon.

  19. […] to do more, but in the end I only managed one quick whisky blog piece for John Hansell’s excellent site over at but the comment section has generated a right stooshie as they say. Anyway, I’m off […]

  20. John Hansell says:

    Thanks Richard for taking time out of your busy schedule to respond to all of our comments.

    Serge, et al: I also like a good cigar with a whisky, but yes, it does change the flavor and experience of the whisky.

  21. Tim F says:

    A very dignified response, Richard. Congratulations.

    Harvey, although some of what you say is valid, your manner and style of saying it is at best tedious and, at worst, self-indulgent (you criticising anyone for having an ego is an hilarious irony), insulting and unreadable.

    Not to mention overlong. I am sure I’m not the only person on this forum who simply scrolls through your posts as I have neither the time nor the inclination to read your one-note invective.

    Please, please moderate your language and try and read through your posts before publishing them.

  22. Harvey Fry says:

    thanks for your answers Richard. i & just
    about all of the people in the large group of drinking collectors i run with seriously believe that, with regard to chill filtering & strength, the approaches you preach went out with the evidence that began to come in with the expanded availability of cask strength whiskies. in short, chillfiltering & dilution past a certain point AMOUNTS TO TRASHING THE WHISKY, PERIOD. in any case, the choice should be made by the consumer, not the distiller/bottler. i’ll end by saying even though i’m a very big fan of both Jura & Dalmore, i take your decision to reduce the alcohol about as well as i’d take your stealing coin from my pockets &, because i feel as strongly as i do, every effort i can reasonably make to steer people who want
    a taste of Dalmore dead & absolutely away from your new OBs & toward the available independents, will become something like a mission to me. in the end the money i cost Whyte & Mackay may not hurt that much, but in the long run you will lose market share & i’ll hopefully think it was worth the effort. put another way, we believe you’re
    still living in the century we left behind almost a decade ago & there’s really not much to be accomplished by continuing to argue with you. we’ll just put our money where our mouth is & see what happens.

  23. Harvey, there’s no dignity for either of us in me responding to all your points, though at no point have I been arguing. You asked some questions and I took the time to respond to them, backed by facts. I thought the debate was worth having, if you think it’s an argument, I’m sorry I never realised you just wanted to speak your mind and not receive a reply.

    I won’t get involved in this thread’s comments after this, but you obviously have your mindset and opinion and that is that, but I did point out to you that we offer whisky which is not chillfiltered and whiskies at 40% and higher ABVs which was your main arguments and points of contention. So how can you still be “arguing”? I explained the reasons behind it and also told you that there are alternatives.

    I’m sorry that some expressions don’t suit you, pleased you are fans of others. At the end of the day there are whiskies out there for everyone and it falls to us all to make sure people get the chance to explore them.

    As for your constant harranging of the previous century – which you seem to constantly bring up in negative tones – where do you think your whisky comes from?

  24. Very last point: of course the choice will be made by the consumer – that is why there are different options available. As I pointed out, that’s the very reason the industry – not just W&M – does what it does – to give the consumer CONFIDENCE in the whisky and allow them to make choices.

  25. Liad Abraham says:

    Thank you for replying and linking in twitter.
    I think it’s great that you cared to reply and that prove the point that when you speak online it isn’t only PR.
    I do agree with Harvey that smart educated consumer will understand the change in colors from batch to batch without the use of E150a.
    Many things can be said on how and if E150a effect whisky but personally I find it interesting to see the whisky as close as possible to the way it looks when it comes out of the cask.
    I’m not an expert and not try to be but when I come to buy whisky I do prefer non-chillfiltered, without E150a and stronger ABV even cask strength whisky allowing me to add the amount of water I choose, with that said if that will stop me from buying whisky that I want to try that is chillfiltered, E150a added and 40% ABV not for second.
    My only request as consumer that it’ll be written on the label that E150a was added for now in all the whisky bottles I saw it was writen.
    For whisky and cigars together, I never try cigar with whisky before I had the time to try both the whisky and the cigar at least two times before to know how it’s like without interference, that’s why I smoke new cigars only with water and if I drink new whisky I drink without anything near it except of water to refresh my palate from sip to sip.
    If you’ll be willing to try and you’ll be lucky to find the right combination you’ll learn that the right cigar with the right whisky can make your experience interesting.

  26. Neil Fusillo says:


    Just wanted to say, I finally got a chance to try some of the new Dalmore expressions this weekend (12, Gran Riserva, and the 15). All incredibly good whiskies! Quite pleased to add them to the collection.

  27. B.J. Reed says:

    I love the passion here and there is nothing wrong with differences of opinion if handled professionally and well intentioned.

    Richard is a great ambassador for single-malt and on more than one occasion I have been the beneficiary of his wit and wisdom. I love Dalmore (even at 40 ABV) and have tasted some of their new expressions including the King Alexander – Keep them coming!

    I know how strong (no pun intended) Harvey feels about cask strength whisky and I also prefer whiskies at 46% and above. That doesn’t mean that a 40 ABV whisky cannot be enjoyable but it does make you wonder what that dram would have been like at 43 or 46. I think G&M has really shifted its emphasis away from the 40 ABV bottlings and I think its been an improvement in their wonderful products.

    We just did a tasting of all 26 non cask strength Flora and Fauna’s at 43 ABV and it was delightful but might have been even more delightful at 46 🙂

  28. Dave Gregoire says:

    I don’t purchase wisky to collect, I purchase it to drink. And I’m especially not drinking it to get buzzed. Under those constraints, missing 6%ABV is not an issue since I rarely consume anything at bottle strength. Well, the first tast of a new whisky is always at bottle strength to see what the the master distiller had in mind when the whisky was produced, but thereafter I almost always dilute it a little further so as to preserve both my sense of taste and my senses in general…

    As a long time subscriber to Malt advocate, I’d agree that it’s readership as well as the readership of this blog are not in need of the kind of consistency that chill filtering and caramel coloring bring to the product (or take away, if you’d prefer that interpretation) but would we provide a large enough customer base to keep our favorite distillers in business? I rather doubt it. And as Richard pointed out, there are alternatives out there.

    John, keep up the great work,

    Dave Gregoire

  29. John Hansell says:

    Wow, I take a couple days vacation (battling a ten foot thresher shark, among other things) and a lot has transpired while I was gone. Quite a lively discussion. Looks like there was some sparring here too?

    Like BJ said, there’s a lot of passion here and it’s great to see different viewpoints. This is how we learn and mature. Keep it up!

    BUT, we need to always be respectful and professional with our comments. Brief, and to the point too! And while it’s okay to not like a whisky or disagree with someone’s viewpoint, I don’t EVER want anyone attacking an individual’s character here. Let’s keep it to whisky, okay? Thanks!

  30. John M says:

    Mr Paterson

    You’re probably finished with this discussion, but do you ever do presentations in Ireland? I’d love to go to one. Maybe I’ll catch one at a whisky show over in the UK some time.


  31. John M: Next week my blog will be revealing a lot of my movements for the year so stay tuned to that!

  32. Oboe says:

    I’m a bit late in coming to this, but I wanted to weigh in and pose a few questions.

    First, I’d like to thank Richard for taking the time to stop in and say a few words on this blog. However, I’d have to agree that the original post was a bit disappointing – not much was said in regards to the whisky other than how many Americans are ruining the dram by putting ice in it. I’d have to agree with Harvey on many points – it is a bit egotistical to think that it’d be enough to just stop by and saying hi on a blog full of very enthusiastic whisky drinkers. I think the idea behind guest bloggers from within the industry is that they can give us some great insight that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise get. Which is why I appreciate Richard’s responses – these are great. The reasoning for adding caramel colouring makes sense from a marketing point of view, for reaching the broader customer base. I’ll even concede to 40% ABV if its justified as out of a desire to reach a broader customer base (or to extend stocks or avoid higher ABV tax) – who of us started out with loving the higher proof spirits. But that isn’t the reason we got. “studies have shown that people drink their whisky straight at 40% and if they were to drink anything higher they would be aneasthetising their tounge with the stronger ABV.” IF this were the case, why is it that we all get more complex and flavorful whiskies when we see them at higher proofs – it can’t simply be a continuing coincidence. In regards to ice: I think it humorous at best that this is criticized. This ruins the dram but chillfiltering and caramel colouring do not? And how does this ruin those bottled at higher proofs that are offered if the ideal is 40% ABV and consumers are encouraged to water down? There obviously is a bit of disagreement over what does or does not take away from the whisky. Richard states that chillfiltering only takes out the fatty oils – but science has revealed that lipid fats act as reservoirs for flavor. So less fatty oils, less flavor. What I would love to see from your line up Richard is something along the lines of what you currently have (for the broader customer base) and something a bit more serious (some unchillfiltered, high ABV – maybe even cask strength?- , no caramel colouring distillery bottlings; a “natural” series. I also have a question regarding refill. I’m curious if Dalmore or Jura have a standard for number of refills they run on their barrels. Also, how many times do you distill a mash? Or if Richard has signed off, does anyone else here know?

  33. John Hansell says:

    “Oboe”, welcome. Good questions.

    Yes, you are a tad late. Richard’s posting, and the reason behind it, has been well established here, because of his schedule at the time.

    The good news is that he will be back later in the year and he promises more detail at that time. I’ll make sure he sees your comments.

  34. Remember me! For those of you looking for a non-chill-filtered whisky at 46% ABV, can I suggest the latest addition to the Jura family – Jura Prophecy?

    Don’t say we don’t listen to you lot…we’ve done our bit, your turn. Feel free to post over at what your thoughts are on it (there’s a blog post going up on Monday about it)

  35. gal says:

    waiting for that Jura to be available.

  36. […] was produce $20,000 bottles and nothing else – but we don’t, something I addressed when I was a guest blogger on his site earlier this […]

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