Half a century is a huge milestone in any career, so when Richard Paterson crossed his 50th year in whisky, The Dalmore decided to celebrate the accomplished master distiller with a commemorative bottling of The Dalmore 50 Year Old, recently unveiled at the sixth edition of the DFS Masters of Wines and Spirits in Singapore.
The incredibly limited edition release, priced at £50,000 (S$90,000) each, will be hand-filled order into custom-made Baccarat crystal cases by acclaimed furniture designer Linley, with an ornamented Hamilton & Inches solid sliver stag.
A long time in the making, Paterson reveals, “This was finalised on December 31, 1966. It started its life in American white oak, then we transferred it into Matusalem sherry butts by the González Byass. We’ve been going to that company for over a hundred years now. Then, into Port Colheita pipes, 1938, to get the rich plummy notes."
He adds, “I wanted to finish it with a little edge, something had not been done before, so I got in contact with Henri Giraud of Champagne. They have been stimulating their barriques in the 2015 vintage—some consider it to be one of the finest vintages of the century. We kept some of the wine in the cask and put Dalmore into it for 50 days.”
Although the 50 Year Old was his first attempt at a champagne finish, Paterson had been experimenting with wine finishing for many years. “It actually started with The Dalmore King Alexander III. We were the first company to do a combination of Port, Madeira, Marsala, Cabernet Sauvignon, small batch bourbon and Matusalem sherry.”
The different assemblages put together gave him the flavour profile he was looking for and he ended up with five different expressions in California—Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon—for The Dalmore Quintessence.
“These five were left for five years and we put the whole assemblage together and we left it for another year to really come together. Wine does not like water, so that’s why we’ve kept it at 45 per cent. You will be able to smell and pick up the lovely cassis notes, the blackforest fruits, the blackcurrants that just linger, but we must allow the DNA—the chocolate orange—to be caressed softly from the background. It’s just a joy to see what these casks can provide. But at the end of the day, the wines must be compatible with your whisky.”