8/3/2011 at Lizzy McCormack’s in Orlando, FL.
Dalmore recently put on an event at Lizzy McCormack’s in downtown Orlando. The event was a scotch sampling, tasting, and information session put on by Richard Paterson, Master Blender The Dalmore. Mr. Peterson came dressed in full traditional garb, including a kilt. This man knew whiskey and scotch. Check out his bio:
Richard Paterson is Master Distiller for The Dalmore. Descended from a long line of whisky blenders, this pathway was all but pre-destined. Richard began his career at a whisky brokerage in Glasgow and following completion of his apprenticeship, joined The Dalmore where he has been Master Distiller since 1970.
The event was divided in to three different sections with short videos and a powerpoint presentation interspersed throughout. We started without any liquor at all — we got a piece of paper with eight different numbers followed by blank lines. This turned out to be a bit of a game. They passed around vials full of different scents and we were told to write down our thoughts on what the scent is next to the corresponding numbers on the sheet of paper. I got 6 out of 10 correct. Al got 8. The man has an impressive nose. I missed cloves and spices.
After we were done identifying the different scents and scoring ourselves, Mr. Paterson started teaching us about scotch whiskey and where it comes from. He explained the different regions that scotch comes from and had pictures and information to match. If you’re curious about where scotch comes from and how it’s made, check out the Wikipedia article. It’s a very interesting read.
While he was telling us about the different regions, we also got to start sampling scotch from these places while he was telling us about them. This was awesome and made the event live up to its name of being for Sommeliers. Mr Paterson would describe something about the region and you would actually be able to taste that in the scotch you were sampling.
After the first round of sampling of different regions, we got to move on to the more aged scotches. They were nice enough to pour a Dalmore 15, 18, and a few others I can’t think of because I forgot to take notes by this point and the 15 and 18 were so good.
The final part of the evening, and one of the highlights for me, was when Mr. Paterson asked for a volunteer. People seemed to be a bit hesitant at first. I think this was because he had been throwing ice and scotch in to the audience at different parts throughout the event to prove a point he was making. It turned out that this couldn’t have been a worse time to be more shy.
He brought out a very expensive bottle of scotch and the volunteer would be able to try a sip. When I say expensive, I mean expensive. I don’t remember the exact price but we’re talking 5 digits here. It was no joke. Actually, I take it back. That would have been the perfect opportunity for a joke. If the volunteer had asked to mix it with coke or a mixer of some sort. But I digress. He made the guy who got to sample that hold it in his mouth for about 30 seconds before swallowing. The guy really seemed to like it.
So, which was the best scotch sampled? Your tastes will vary. I’m a bit of a scotch drinker. I say this without guilt — I enjoy a good scotch but it’s not something I’ll usually seek out. My favorites from the event were the Dalmore 15 and the Dalmore 18. I had never had Dalmore until this event but I found them to be very smooth and easy to pick out the different flavors. I think the sampling with the vials helped with that quite a bit.
If you’re looking for a good scotch to try and haven’t dabbled outside of the mainstream, I’d say give Dalmore a shot (pun! yes!). You will be pleasantly surprised by what you experience.