Glasgow in Chocolate

Thank you very much guys for your kind concern. Yes, we did get home safely on Thursday. No, it’s not true that Glaswegians are useless and rude people. As long as you obey the colour code, meaning not wearing anything blue or green, you’re fine.

And yes, it is true that taxis in Glasgow are cheap as chips. £2.60 for a 10min ride in heavy traffic? In Edinburgh you pay £2.80 for getting in. When I pointed that out to the driver I got the old Scottish saying back:

“In Speyside they make whisky, in Glasgow they make ships and in Edinburgh they make money.”

This and last year it was more like making colossal debts than any money at all in Edinburgh, but hey ho. Good to know that at least our cabbies can still afford to live it large these days.

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It was my first time in Dalmore House. People also call it W&M Towers and until Thursday I thought it was entirely sarcastic. It is actually not, the building is in fact very tall. Inside it’s Die Hard 1 through and through. Some black marble, some glass and a lot of places to hide (no terrorists this time though).

Richard Paterson’s Blending Suite is located on the top floor so you can guess what the view is like. It’s a large brightly lit space which can only be described as a cross between a lab and my granddad’s attic. Next to rows of neatly labelled samples and thousands of squeaky-clean sampling glasses, there is space for swords and knives, pictures and certificates, models of pagoda roofs, stills and condensers, weird and wonderful bottles, peat cutters, huge wooden noses and even a full-scale model of a distiller-monk.

Oh, and biscuits. Tonnes of them.

After showing us around and telling a dozen or so interesting stories (I could listen to the man forever), Richard commenced the tasting and, to our amusement/delight, matched every whisky from the Whyte & Mackay range to a sweet snack. And as the evening progressed and the whiskies got posher, so did the sweets. We started off with Rich Tea, went on to Hobnobs, then Chocolate Digestives (my personal favourites), marzipan and, eventually, to complement the award-winning 30yo, there were generous chunks of bitter chocolate. Richard is well chuffed with the gold he won for this whisky at The Whisky Challenge 2009, so he gave us a great chat about it before we tasted…

…Two minutes into his spiel we were covered in liquid chocolate from heads to toes. Some, like me, took it with appropriate calm and dignity, discretely licking themselves clean afterwards and never missing a word of what Richard had to say. Others, however, found it amusing to try and smear that chocolate all-over each other. By others I obviously mean Chris and Céline.

Most of you will certainly find the concept of Céline covered in chocolate a good and pleasant one. But Chris? Now, that was disturbing. I needed a massive gulp of the W&M 30 to get over the initial shock… whether I will ever fully recover, I do not know.

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The line-up for the night was as follows:

  • Whyte & Mackay Special (first whisky of the day, big thumbs up)
  • Whyte & Mackay 13yo (my first time, a positive surprise)
  • Whyte & Mackay 19yo (super duper)
  • Whyte & Mackay 22yo (can’t remember… didn’t take any notes)
  • Whyte & Mackay 30yo (the winner and deservedly so)
  • Whyte & Mackay 40yo (wow)

Craig, the man who was running the technical part of the evening (including pouring whisky) received a rather enthusiastic ovation at the end of the night. That man does not settle for a measure any smaller than a large glass of wine. A Hero.

Comments

  1. Sounds truely awesome, ONE day I’ll be able to attend such an event! I hope you Scots appreciate the fine life of bottomless whisky, big dram personalities, and well stocked whisky stores :) cheers!

  2. hey chris

    great post.

    would kill to be in Richards’ lab. he’s a legend this one, and quite the character.

    you are damn lucky guys.

    slainte!

  3. He’s a character and a half. A true Glasgow gentleman according to Chris… until recently I wasn’t aware that such breed existed :P

  4. You must be forgetting my humble origins…

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