Whisky Magazine Issue 60
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Richard Parker is turning a passion for whisky in to a healthy business. Dominic Roskrow reports
The High Street in Banff doesn't look like a mecca for whisky. In fact at 7pm on a warm summer's evening on a weekday it doesn't look much of anything.
The shops are all shut and the pavements deserted.
Which is a problem because we are due to start a whisky tasting, the shop is empty, and I can't help thinking that it's a long way to come to speak to no-one.
“Don't worry, they'll come,” says Richard.
“It's always like this. Five minutes before we're due to start it looks like no-one's coming and then they suddenly appear from nowhere.” He's right. Moments later the first guests start arriving and they continue to stream in until the shop is full, standing room only.
So after selling coal to Newcastle, what does an Englishman bring to a tasting for a large group of Speyside farmers? I opt for Arran 10 year old, Scapa and Bunnahabhain 18 year old to show that Speyside isn't the only region to do creamy and fruity, and Benriach Curiositas to show that Islay isn't the only place doing peat. Last up is the recently-released organic Benromach.
It's a strange tasting. The audience say little and give little indication as to what they think. Until the end, that is, when each of them comes over for a brief chat, pick up one or two bottles from the group we have tasted, pay and leave. In all they spend more than £1500.
For Richard regular tastings have become an integral part of his business, and it's paying off. He doesn't charge for his evenings but says that most pe...