Richard Paterson, also known as the Nose, has been the Master Blender at Whyte & Mackay Group for over fifty years, and is one of the most respected figures in the Scotch Whisky industry.
When not in Scotland, he spends his time travelling the globe educating and presenting to a wide-ranging audience.
How was the spirits judging this year?
Every year there’s challenges within our industry, and it’s always great to see these spirits coming together to see what kind of style emerges. I can see that over the years many newcomers have come into it, but the traditional ones are still there creating the very best. More importantly, because the challenges are becoming greater every year, the many blenders have to assess what they’re producing and really select the finest woods to achieve that Gold medal. And make no mistake – when you achieve a Gold medal, that’s really something very important.
What are you looking for when judging spirits?
It takes a lot to get a Gold medal. It has to be the assemblage itself, the balance, the bouquet – everything has to get that final achievement. Gold medals are very limited. You’ve really got to earn it. If you’ve got a Gold or Gold Outstanding medal, this is something truly classic, and you should be immensely proud of it.
What does it mean for distilleries to win a Gold medal?
When you get a small distillery, or even a large distillery, and they win a Gold medal, it means so much because everybody at the distillery – the bottling hall, the packaging – has all played their part. It’s not just down to the blender – it involves many people. When they get a Gold medal, that’s something that can be celebrated by everybody.