Whisky Magazine Issue 17
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Dave Broom follows JBB's Richard Paterson on a typical working day and learns much about blending, showbiz and living life at full pelt
It's 7.30am and I'm heading into the centre of Glasgow, towards JBB's offices which are close enough to my old school to cause a nervy shudder. The modern building sits on the cusp between old and new Glasgow, sandwiched between the motorway and Alexander ‘Greek' Thomson's finest church. Glasgow's always been a bit like that, ancient and contemporary thrown together in weird juxtapositions. Not a bad place to be a blender.
8.00am: A brightly lit room. There are bottles everywhere, framed photos of men with heroic moustaches and, sitting on a central table that looks like the control panel of Dr Who's Tardis, a huge measuring flask of whisky. A man is kneeling in front of it. Dark suit, dark hair, a handkerchief flopping from his breast pocket, tie knotted just so. Everything about him is neat and precise. He's Richard Paterson, Master Blender at JBB, and I'm here to see what a day in his life is like.
It's only when you go into a sample room that you get an idea of how complicated a blender's job is. A mess of bottles and glasses, there's always at least three things going on at the same time but the blender seems oblivious to this apparent chaos. The sample room is like a physical manifestation of his mind with flavours, aromas and textures sitting next to each other which only he can decode and combine. On the table are two examples of a day's work. A working model of a newly commissioned blend and a range of samples from the blending centre at Invergordon sent down fo...