Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Book Review

Goodness Nose

Goodness Nose. The passionate revelations of a Scotch Whisky Master Blender by Richard Paterson and Gavin D. Smith. Richard Paterson is one of the world's most prominent whisky blenders working with Whyte & Mackay in Glasgow. Gavin is a leading whisky writer and journalist with several books on the subject to his credit.

I have just finished reading this and thought it would be appropriate to write a quick review for my blog as I consider it to be part of my continuous whisky development

I knew little about Richard, however recently saw the excellent documentary Shackleton's Whisky in which Richard flies to New Zealand to the whisky bring back home and recreate the blend. After watching this program (and I have it firmly saved in my TV box memory) I decided I really ought to find out a little more about Richard and searched the internet to find out more.

I had the rather good fortune of meeting Richard at the recent Whisky Live Show in London. It was my first whisky event in my journey so far, and really was hoping to be able to 'bump' into Richard during the show.

Knowing his association with Whyte & Mackay, Dalmore and Jura we made our way down to their stand to sample their whiskies on display with a hope of seeing him. We were not disappointed! Within a few minutes of finishing a couple of Dalmore expressions Richard appeared and I introduced my daughter and myself to him.

When I told Richard that I was introducing my daughter to whisky he immediately told her that she ought to have a copy of his book that would explain it all! He disappeared to behind the Whyte & Mackay stand and reappeared with a paperback copy of his book and promptly signed it for her!

I've just spent my Easter weekend reading it, well finishing it, as I had started it after the show, and what a great read it is. Most of my journey to date has been with single malts, and before reading this book have only tasted one blended Scotch whisky, that being Black Grouse. Although I have had some blended whiskies on my wish list, I have always overlooked them for another single malt. This will have to change from now on!

Meeting Richard at Whisky Live London 2012 was a highlight of the day
So, onto the book

Richard Paterson almost has Scotch whisky running through his veins. His grandfather and father were both prominent in the Scotch whisky industry in Glasgow for decades before Richard joined a competing whisky brokerage firm to start his apprenticeship.

This book is not the answer to the art of blending whisky, nor is it a book filled with tasting notes of various expressions. It is his personal account of a remarkable career in the Whisky business, his personal view of the Whisky industry during the last four decades. It is also a comprehensive and entertaining story of the art of Whisky blending.

There's plenty of humour alongside the history and the story starts with Richard's first exposure to whisky, at just eight years old, in his Father's Glasgow bond. The foundation had been laid and Richard reveals how he eventually started an apprenticeship with a rival firm, before moving to Whyte & Mackay rising through the ranks to the top of his profession and a third generation Master Blender.

Richard really know's his whisky and his whisky history and every page is filled with the passion he has for the business and the respect for the people who made Scotch whisky what it is today. He also candidly reveals some of the secrets of his craft and gives his thoughts on where he feels the industry is heading today. Im sure this is destined to become a whisky classic and will be an essential item on every whisky fan's bookshelf.

I have learned a great deal from reading this book as it contains plenty useful advice for would-be whisky connoisseurs – pour the whisky into a proper nosing glass, hold between thumb and forefinger, keep it at room temperature, swirl a few times, put your nose right into the glass (don't sniff forlornly from six inches away) and take plenty time to get to know the whisky before sipping.

Richard says that, to him, nosing alone is sufficient to assess the qualities of the whisky nearly 99% of times. Very rarely will he need to taste a sample – and in most cases it ends up in the spittoon, however if it is a particularly

Richard Paterson is a true ambassador of the Whisky industry and of Scotland, and if you really want to know more about Scotch Whisky, get yourself a copy of this book.

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