Master Distiller Richard Paterson Talks About Dalmore 45

When it comes to whisky (note the proper Scottish spelling,) Richard Paterson, the Master Distiller at The Dalmore, is the man. He is notorious for rinsing his glass with whisky itself and is known to slap those tasting his master blends incorrectly. The man is mad about the Scottish beverage, enough to create The Dalmore 45, a 45-year old limited-edition decanter with an estimated worth of $12,500 a bottle.

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The Dalmore 45. Photo: Courtesy of The Dalmore.

This would be taken after dinner on a really special occasion,” says Paterson. “But you gotta share with your friends. People are going to take these bottles and take a look at it and not perhaps drink it. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about sharing perhaps with the people you love and therefore you can do that and make it an experience.” But for Paterson, the experience must be a right one, with the correct knowledge and proper etiquette. 

To taste a whisky, the proper glass is a copa capita. To get into the whisky, Paterson first pours a bit into the glass, swirls it and “then you put it over there,” as he nonchalantly spills the whisky back over his shoulder. This is to eliminate any excess odor from the glass. 

richard paterson
Photo: Courtesy of Richard Paterson.

The rest of the process is really the meet-and-greet between drinker and the drink. Paterson demands stuffing your entire nose into the glass to block the scents. He considers this a “hello.” The Dalmore 45 comes off with elegant notes of molasses, toffee treacle cakes, oranges, and almonds.

The second sniff — the “How are you?” — is another gentle getting-to-know between your nostrils (one by one) and the liquid. Finally, what Paterson considers the “thank you very much,” comes along with the tasting. Let it saunter above and below your tongue before an inhale and a swallow. The liquid is very creamy and silky, and a bit spicy-lemony at the beginning, before it opens up to a whole new level of flavor, like a fragrance.

“You can see that this is a whisky that must have character, muscle, structure, and it’s not light or floral at all,” says Paterson. The elegance comes from the beginning of the whisky journey in American white oak ex-bourbon casks through to the 1961 and 1963 Port Colheita pipers and the final touch back in the ex-bourbon casks. This way the finishing note stays with you throughout the day, it’s a note that nudges its way into memory and files away as a very special sensual experience. 

Distillery. Photo: Courtesy of The Dalmore.

With over 50 years of experience, a whisky-heritage, and names like Jura and The Dalmore under his belt, Paterson know’s exactly how to please the rare few that can appreciate the drink. There are only 500 bottles of Dalmore 45 available — only 50 available stateside. “We already have a sort of black-book of clients that will be interested in it,” he says. “If you get offered it, you have to take it! You cannot hesitate.” For him, it’s as if he was giving away a prized possession — encased in a Baccarat crystal decanter with only some of the finest whisky inside, it really is a top notch drink.

DAL00406 45YO bottle mock
The Dalmore 45. Photo: Courtesy of The Dalmore.