Hedonism Meets... Richard Paterson and Gregg Glass
Richard Paterson and Gregg Glass represent the past, present and future of Scotch Whisky powerhouse Dalmore. Richard has been at the helm of the distillery for over 40 years, currently holding the post of Master Distiller. Greg Glass joined Dalmore as whisky maker in 2016 and has spent five years working with Richard perfecting his craft.
We sat down with Richard and Gregg to discuss their newly released collection of vintage single malts 'The Dalmore Decades'
What inspired The Dalmore Decades?
Richard: After celebrating my milestone of working at Whyte & Mackay for 50 years, and the distillery’s 180th anniversary, in 2020, The Decades series seemed to be a fitting project to showcase the highlights of The Dalmore from the last 60 years.
How would you summarise this collection and what it means to you?
Richard: Having joined Whyte & Mackay in 1970, this was a wonderful way to explore the collection and reminisce over many highlights in my career. The three collections are the culmination of passion, dedication and expertise and are a tribute to the craftsmanship of which we are so proud.
How did you choose each whisky?
Richard: Each whisky represents a key moment in The Dalmore’s history. For example, the 2000 vintage was the first spirit in Scotland to run off the stills in the new millennium, whilst the 1967 represents the decade when the stillhouse as we know it was created which helped us hone our style. The 1995 celebrates the decade when our distinctive bell-shaped bottles were created and the 1979 highlights our long-standing, impressive relationship with González Byass, the titan of Sherry making.
The 1951 is the last whisky distilled during the Mackenzie era, the family which owned the distillery for over a century and whose heritage allows us to display the 12-point Royal stag on every bottle. Meanwhile, the 1980 honours the Mackenzie family and Colonel ‘HAC’ Mackenzie, who sadly passed away in 1988 and from whom I learnt so much.
Are there any whiskies you are particularly proud of?
Richard: Each whisky has its own remarkable story to tell in our history and represents a slice of our heritage. The Dalmore today would be nothing without the legacy of previous generations and the craftsmanship which has traversed the decades. Each whisky in the collection has been cared for, nurtured and matured to perfection. They tell the stories of our history– and to be able to share these exceptional whiskies is something I am proud to be part of.
What makes The Dalmore whiskies so special?
Richard: Our longstanding relationships with world-renowned bodegas and exclusive wineries gives us an outstanding collection of exceptional casks in which to mature and finish our whiskies. We’re best known for our Sherry-finished releases, thanks to our strong relationship with González Byass but we are proud of all our world-class partnerships.
Our unique distillation system, featuring wash stills with flat tops and spirit stills encased in water jackets, provides us with new make spirit with great body and characteristics which evolve over longer maturation periods allowing us to create some of the finest aged whiskies. This has led to our ever-growing reputation as an investment whisky.
How is working with Gregg?
Richard: It’s wonderful to work so closely with someone who is as passionate about the future of the whisky industry as Gregg. As well as learning the traditions and craftsmanship we have developed over time, he is always looking to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible. While I’m not retiring just yet, I feel confident to pass the baton to Gregg who I know will continue the legacy of The Dalmore for the next generation.
What is next for The Dalmore?
Richard: I always like to say we haven’t made our greatest Dalmore yet – there’s always room for improvement.
Gregg, when did you join The Dalmore?
Gregg: I joined Whyte & Mackay and The Dalmore in 2016, as a whisky maker working alongside Master Distiller, Richard Paterson OBE.
What have you learnt from Richard?
Gregg: Richard has been a huge inspiration to me right from the start of my whisky career. I met him before I became a whisky maker but something that really stayed with me occurred 16 years ago when I saw Richard from afar sampling casks at The Dalmore - little did I know that I would be sampling casks in the very same warehouses with him these years later.
I am constantly learning and developing my craft from Richard. His wealth of experience which is invaluable – not a lot of people have had the opportunity to work so closely with such an esteemed master of whisky making. As well as guiding me in the ways of Whyte & Mackay, he’s also given me the freedom to experiment and express my creativity which has been fantastic.
What does The Decades mean to you?
Gregg: Having the chance to sample whiskies from such prestigious and rare aged casks has been an invaluable process. It’s been humbling to look back over the last six decades of work at The Dalmore and see the curated history and how this has evolved in monitoring and enhancing of these unique whiskies.
What impact has Richard had on The Dalmore?
Gregg: Richard’s impact on The Dalmore and the wider whisky industry cannot be understated. His reputation as a whisky maker is unrivalled and he is synonymous with The Dalmore. As the latest in a line of pioneering Master Distillers, he took the helm and injected his personality, flair and passion, dedicating his life to the craft. His impact on The Dalmore, the distillery and its whiskies will continue to be felt for generations to come and I feel honoured that he has chosen me to follow in his footsteps.