Entering the industry on 5th September 1966, few could have imagined that the young third-generation whisky maker would one day have his nose insured for £1 million, but today only one man has the moniker of ‘The Nose’, an epithet earned over five decades of experience in an industry he is deeply passionate about. That man is The Dalmore Master Distiller, Richard Paterson, rightly recognised as the creative force behind the Highland Single Malt and considered by some to be the greatest whisky maker of his generation.

In celebration of his landmark 50 years in the industry, The Dalmore has the champagne out – quite literally – with the upcoming highly limited release of The Dalmore 50. Only 50 hand-finished decanters will be released with every drop of the whisky finished in champagne casks for 50 days.

“This is a special celebration year for me and so, I think it perfect that The Dalmore 50 is finessed in a champagne cask.”

- Richard Paterson, Master Distiller, The Dalmore

Aged for 50 years (there’s a theme emerging here), the journey of the spirit is something to behold. Distilled in 1966, an age in which man had not yet touched the surface of the moon, the new make spirit was filled to American white oak ex-bourbon casks and laid to rest. Some 37 years later, the spirit was transferred to Matusalem Oloroso sherry casks sourced from González Byass Bodega, a world-renowned winery in Spain that has the unique honour of having the first electrical lights in the country among other industrial and cultural innovations.

As the 2012 London Olympics rolled around, the whisky was transferred to Port Colheita pipes from the Douro region in the north of Portugal for another four years. Approaching the desired profile in January 2016, Paterson transferred the spirit to ex-bourbon casks and then, finally, the whisky was ‘finessed’ for 50 days in a Henri Giraud champagne cask. One of the last remaining champagne houses to mature in casks, Henri Giraud casks were selected for the unique intensity and aromatic complexity of the champagne.

For a whisky of such grand pedigree, only the finest of vessels would do, and a decanter hand-crafted by the prestigious French crystal house, Baccarat, and adorned by the iconic silver stag from Royal Warrant holder and family silversmith, Hamilton & Inches, just about fits the description. Housed in a stunning display cabinet by furniture artisan LINLEY of London, the aesthetic is spectacular. As for the taste, at £50,000 we weren’t about to crack open a bottle to find out, instead the man himself can have the last word on his seminal creation.

“For over 50 years now, mother nature has been casting her magic spell by gently nurturing and taming this golden nectar to absolute perfection. It’s maturation, in the finest and rarest casks from around the world, give the whisky notes of tangy thick-cut marmalade, roasted coffee and chocolate cake with a sumptuous warm finish of crushed almonds, black morello cherries and soft liquorice. A truly timeless whisky! Sláinte mhaith.”

- Richard Paterson, Master Distiller, The Dalmore