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Issue 77 - The nose knows

Whisky Magazine Issue 77
January 2009


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The nose knows

As his book hits the shelves Kate Portman talks to Master blender Richard Paterson.

Hullow,” says Richard Paterson in his deep dulcet tone. “How are you?” he then enquires with a more lengthy inhalation. For anyone that has attended one of the legendary masterclasses from Whyte & Mackay's charismatic master blender, you'll know this is how he likes to greet his whiskies. You'll also know that he doesn't stop at the superficial pleasantries but likes a full conversation to get to know the personality of the whisky better.

And so it is with people… the morning I arrive to interview him about his new book, Goodness Nose, he inquisitively asks about my life before I can begin to ask him about his own. It leads to such a long and entertaining conversation that I run out of space on my Dictaphone but then I'd expect good stories from a man who has dedicated four decades to the whisky industry.

Sitting in Richard's office, perched on the ninth floor of Whyte & Mackay's Glasgow headquarters overlooking the city where he has spent most of his life, a glance around provides further clues into the character of the man. Shelves crammed full of books indicate his insatiable thirst for knowledge and passion for history, his favourite Renoir painting on the wall reveals his artistic sensibilities and windowsills peppered with souvenirs reflect his travels and general curiosity with the world.

Richard is as immaculately groomed as ever, looking dapper in a dark suit with his signature tie and matching handkerchief placed just so in the breast pocket. “Well, I h...

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