2016 Lifetime Achievement Award: Richard Paterson

In 2016, Richard Paterson celebrated 50 years in the Scotch whisky industry, having first entered the business in 1966 with the Glasgow-based firm of A. Gillies & Company. Whisky is in Richard’s blood, as his grandfather founded the blending, bottling, and brokerage business of W.R. Paterson Ltd. back in 1933, and his father Gus carried on the family firm thereafter. It was at the tender age of 8 that Richard and his twin brother Russell were first taken by their father to his Stockwell Bond and introduced to the aromas and flavors of whisky.

After spending four years learning his trade with Gillies and developing his skills as a blender, Richard joined Whyte & Mackay Distillers in 1970, going on to become Scotland’s youngest master blender at the age of 26. He has subsequently spent the rest of his career with Whyte & Mackay, though the company has experienced many changes of ownership during those 46 years.

As well as curating and expanding Whyte & Mackay’s blended scotch portfolio, Richard has been closely associated with the distiller’s single malts, and in particular with the transformation of Dalmore from a solid and dependable Highland whisky into one that can vie with Macallan to command record auction prices for rare and limited editions.

It would be wrong, however, to concentrate solely on Richard’s career achievements, as it is also his unquenchable passion and desire to contribute to all aspects of the world of Scotch whisky that make him such a worthy recipient of this award.

Richard is one of Scotch whisky’s great evangelists, forever touring the globe to make his now legendarily high-energy presentations that help spread the word about the virtues of Scotland’s national drink. The perpetually immaculate Richard Paterson is generous with his time, generous with his knowledge, and generous with his drams. Richard, may your energy and enthusiasm never flag!

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